After a long time, a small-budget horror film that isn’t about haunted houses and spirits residing in a mirror or doll. Perhaps that’s what makes director Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe creepier because it’s humans and a pet dog who unpredictably wreak violence in this lonely bungalow.
Three young thieves, Rocky, Alex and Money, break into empty bungalows and greedily grab all that’s on sight. Until they target a sightless war veteran’s stand-alone house to rob him of a huge cash settlement he has received on his daughter’s death.
That’s when the tables turn. With disturbingly quirky twists, the tension inside the bungalow is suffocating. And you begin to wonder, is the blind old man the hapless victim or should your sympathies go with the three robbers who stumble upon the unexpected?
The combination of horror and a blind character as the pivot forces comparisons with Audrey Hepburn’s brilliant turn as the hapless blind victim in Wait Until Dark. But it’s sheer fear at work in Don’t Breathe without either the blind old veteran or the robbers coming off as victims, thereby not really evoking empathy for those running for their lives. I’d also say that the film is more tense and unexpected than jumpy-scary.
While all the performances are adequate, it is the director’s work that stands out. It is without a doubt unrelentingly edgy with startling turns and a substantial story.
Of course, for those who don’t like an occasional fix of horror, I’d say, don’t watch Don’t Breathe.
But for thriller addicts, there are enough heart-in-the-mouth moments and an uncomfortable end which begs a sequel.
For a well-made thriller that does make you hold your breath wondering what’s going to happen next, Don’t Breathe gets a 3* rating.