Claustrophobia meets Cat and Mouse.
In hope that they will escape from Detroit forever, three friends (burglars), who go by the name of Money (Daniel Zovatto), Rocky (Jane Levy) and Alex (Dylan Minnette), break into a blind war veteran’s house with only cash on their minds. This soon backfires, as the victim is not what they pictured. They’ll be lucky to escape alive.
Diverging from tradition, sensory-based home invasion thrillers are apparently the “in” thing this film season, particularly after the earlier release of Hush, involving a deaf woman as the victim of a brutal home invasion tale. Director of the Evil Dead, Fede Alvarez, returns with a promising work of art, Don’t Breathe. To clarify, this is not a horror film, it’s a thriller, and a very engrossing one at that. With what seems to be such a simple narrative, comes a very effective delivery. Levy, Minnette and Zovatto all fitted their roles well, presenting a convincing sense of realism. Grunting and growling his way through the house, Stephen Lang makes for an unsettling antagonist…to say the least.
With an effective, upbeat use of background noise, the film thrives off creating a tension unlike any other. And in moments of silence, the ambience is equally as pervasive. There is a mild issue that the film holds however; sympathy. Not one of the characters are heroes, in any shape or form, which makes it a little difficult to latch onto them. This is nonetheless saved by the impeccable use of tension and witnessing the scenario unfold. Director, Fede Alvarez, carefully crafts your viewing experience in a way that you’re not agitated by the characters in the slightest. Although they are generic, this play on compassion makes you still route for their sorry selves. The flawless direction here has to be admired.
If an 88 minute panic attack sounds like your gag, then Don’t Breathe will be a walk in the park for you. Prepare to sit holding your head in your hands, and terminate your thoughts on spending extra dosh on fancy seats, as you can rest assured that this won’t assist the comfort of your viewing. A contemporary masterclass in suspense. Don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in this work of art, just don’t blink, and um, do try to breathe.