“Don’t Breathe”- Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto
8 out of 10
By Joseph Valencia ’17
With its opening shot of a blind man dragging a young woman through a silent neighborhood, “Don’t Breathe” sets you up for a dreadful thrill ride.
The premise is simple, yet brilliant.
Three young teens, Rocky (Levy), her boyfriend Money (Zovatto) and her friend Alex (Minnette) are a merry band of thieves set on escaping their current lives in Detroit to move to California. Money gets a tip that a blind army veteran in an abandoned neighborhood is sitting on $300,000 of settlement money, and sees the opportunity to pull off one last heist.
In true teen fashion, the trio vastly underestimates the capabilities of the blind man and finds themselves in a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Stephen Lang easily steals the show, playing the nameless blind man, a grizzled army veteran who lost his sight in a grenade explosion and his daughter in a car accident. When he’s first introduced, he’s very easy to empathize with, as the three teens robbing him only add to the misery of his life.
I found myself rooting for the blind man in the beginning, as he was initially frightened by the invaders in his home, and rightfully so. I was even excited when he turned the tables on the thieves, and began to ruthlessly hunt them down.
However, the audience’s views of the blind man soon change drastically as its revealed that he harbors a dark and heinous secret in his basement. The film does an amazing job of making this secret genuinely disturbing and haunting, even after you leave the theatre.
The film’s largest strength, however, is its use of suspense and dread as tools of horror rather than relying on jump scares and disgusting visuals, as most horror films today do. The blind man’s home, while only a house at face value, is transformed into a labyrinth of death and chaos over the course of the movie.
While the film’s conclusion is somewhat lackluster, it’s serviceable in ending the movie appropriately. Overall, “Don’t Breathe” has become a hallmark of modern horror films, and should serve as an example to other films on how to scare an audience properly.