Despite the joke, “Don’t Breathe” actually was quite a tense film. Released on August 25 (a bit old at this point, but not many movies came out that I saw recently), “Don’t Breathe” is the newest film from the people behind the “Evil Dead” remake: Fede Alvarez and horror legend Sam Raimi.
Taking place in an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit, “Don’t Breathe” follows three small-time criminals that burglarize houses to support themselves. The trio is composed of Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minette), and Money (Daniel Zovatto). Alex’s father works for a security company, giving him access to security codes, keys, and a universal remote that turns off security systems. His connections gives the group easy access into whatever house has security from that company. Alex’s knowledge of the legal system also allows them make smarter choices about what they take, as “anything above 10 grand is a felony.”
While the events that occur happen to all three, the story is really about Rocky. She lives in a dump with her deadbeat mother and her mother’s deadbeat boyfriend, and her little sister, whom she loves very much. The basis for the future events of the film is Rocky’s drive to get enough money to move herself and her sister to California, where they can be away from her mother and Detroit as a whole. Knowing this, Money (her wannabe gangster boyfriend) researches a house in an abandoned neighborhood, lived in only by an Iraq war-vet. The old man is blind and is said to be sitting on a $300,000 settlement after the hit-and-run death of his daughter. After a good amount of hesitation from Alex, he agrees to help Rocky and Money, but only to help Rocky leave Detroit.
After all the setup, the rest of the film’s events cannot be described without spoiling the best parts of the film. That is to say, every moment in the house is tense, riveting, and really makes you feel for the characters. The old man (Stephen Lang), as shown in the trailers, is quite a monster, and can fend for himself better than the three teenagers that can actually see.
Lighting, or lack thereof later on in the film, sound design, ambient music, camera work, and the actors’ performances are all very well done. It is evident that the movie was made with passion and a vision the crew genuinely wanted to achieve. I’ll say that they did. I found myself at the edge of my seat holding my breath with the characters a few times, which goes to say that they did their job well.
While not really “scary,” “Don’t Breathe” is a truly intense film that doesn’t hold your hand and doesn’t let up when you think it should. The trailers said to watch for the twist, but honestly I caught three or four. If you missed the movie while it was in theaters, you should definitely rent it when it becomes available to do so.