A Thriller That’ll Take Your Breath Away…


Luke "Luke Nukem" Myslik, Staff Writer

Don’t Breathe takes place in Detroit, where there are three teenage delinquents who make a modest living out of burglarizing and breaking into people’s homes using stolen security alarm codes and selling the things they stole. Rocky (which is short for Raquel), played by Jane Levy, is a teenager who is only doing these acts of heists and burglary, so she can use the money to move away to California with her younger sister, and her overzealous boyfriend named Money. Dylan Minnette plays Rocky and Money’s friend, Alex. One day after they pulled off a heist in someone’s home, the gang receives word that an old blind Army veteran, played by Stephen Lang, lives in an abandoned neighborhood, and inside his home, there is a safe filled with $300,000. As the trio decides to break in and steal the money, they soon discover that the old man is trained in combat with superiorly heightened senses. Now the teenage trio needs to make it out of the house alive and get the cash in the process.   

Now, after filmmaker Fede Alvarez finished his debut on the remake of Evil Dead 2013, one of the complaints that critics have addressed on his remake, was that it focused way more on the violence and blood, while also relying on shock value than focusing on the character driven narrative.  Fortunately this year, his next project Don’t Breathe is an original thriller that focuses more on its characters, contain less blood than the project he did before, and aims for suspense and terror rather than violence and gore. And now that I finally go to see it, I would like to preface my opinion by saying that, in all, I find Don’t Breathe to be one of the most enjoyable and suspenseful thrillers I’ve seen all year. Unlike the majority of directors who follow the basic overused trend of making movies about paranormal entities and demonic possession, Alvarez tries to take on something that no one has ever done before and put it onto the big screen, without being a  . If you want to see Alvarez at his absolute finest, then go watch Don’t Breathe.

First and foremost, I want to address how extraordinary they made this movie’s tone and atmosphere, because one of Alvarez’s fundamental strengths is that he nails the sense of tension and dread in a film. The film is one of those movies where whenever something bad is about to go down, you feel bad for the teens. The film’s cinematography does an excellent job of adding touches of fear and suspense.

The acting from the majority of the cast members like Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto are really excellent in their roles. An one of the things I liked about these characters is that none of the characters are like the annoying teenage idiot stereotypes we’ve seen in horror movies. But, perhaps, the biggest standout performances of the whole cast, is Stephen Lang as the monstrously menacing Blind Man. He’s the kind of guy that when he pops up, the tension rises and you start to worry for these characters.

Like I said, this film is fantastic, and it’s one of the most tense and suspenseful thrillers, I’ve seen in a long time. However, this film does have some glaring omissions. One of them has to do with the twist. It fundamentally changes the entire perspective of its story and characters in the film, but handles the material in an ultimately predictable and completely unnecessary way. Aside from the predictable twist and bits of the last act being a bit lackluster, there’re no other complaints I can think of towards this truly outstanding thriller.

Don’t Breathe is a breath of fresh air for the thriller/horror movie genre. It has great characters, spectacular acting, very excellent tension filled moments of suspense, with some very marvelous cinematography and has very prodigious and creepy atmosphere. Even though this film has its faults, it’s still one of most unique kinds of thrillers you will see this year. I had a blast with Don’t Breathe, and I think you will, too!