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Review: Don’t Breathe

Dylan Minnette and Stephen Lang star in Screen Gems' DONT BREATHE

There are so many movies that come out these days that are nothing more than repetitive and uninspiring renditions of features we’ve already seen before. It gets to the point where it’s difficult to truly get invested in what you’re watching. That’s even true for movies that we might actually enjoy. That’s why movies similar to Don’t Breathe are necessary. Although it’s not without its flaws, it’s clearly attempting to be seen by not being simply what we’ve already experienced over and over before.

In search of the kind of money that will lead to a better life outside of their home state of Michigan, three friends decide to break into the home of an old man (Stephen Lang) who has a decent amount of cash. What makes him the perfect target on the surface is that he’s blind, he lives alone and there likely won’t be too many witnesses since his home is on a street without many living on it. However, once inside, the trio of friends learn that their plan to rely on the old man’s handicap isn’t a foolproof as they originally thought.

One major thing that makes Don’t Breathe standout is how the old man’s blindness is used. With handling this properly, the suspense and thrills that are desperately needed for movies like this to flourish is effectively utilized. Watching the other characters find ways to deal with this deadly but severely handicapped antagonist has the ability to make the audience squirm time the conflict starts. I can’t say for certain, but I’m confident this will get a positive reaction from those who watch it and don’t mind more than a few tense moments.

With that being said, there are a good amount of conveniences that you’ll witness throughout the movie to go along with the tension. While I too enjoyed much of what’s here, this fact does do some damage to the movie. I was able to ignore much of the convenient timing of such things but it’s a bit much as things move along since it becomes more unbelievable in too many ways. This manages to take away from some of the sensationalism that’s here, but it’s unable to change the fact that this horror/thriller has a somewhat fresh approach that’s worth forking up a few dollars for.

When it comes to the genre that it fits in, I lean toward this being more of a thriller than a horror film. Granted, it does have horror elements to it, but it feels more like it should be classified as something else. That’s mainly because of the premise is predicated on one seemingly normal human being terrorizing the three young people. Then again, the “antagonist” being an actual person could make it scarier for some. Either way you end up looking at it, this proves itself to be entertaining and engaging.

Another reason behind why I see this as a thriller more is because it’s not as graphic as it probably should be. I say that because there’s a solid amount of violence shown here, but there isn’t much to go with it in terms of blood and gore. At times, it almost felt as if they wanted to make this safe enough to earn a PG-13 rating. Luckily, they don’t go all the way with that, but with it being deemed as only safe for those of us over the age of 17, they should have gone out more with that stuff.

Don’t Breathe should be commended for being a film that tries its hardest to be different during a time when familiarity is all too common. While it’s also kind of predictable in a few ways, there’s enough here that’s unique and has the definite ability to keep your undivided attention throughout its duration. This much effort in trying some new things is welcome. I just hope we see more of that from Hollywood. If that happens, maybe there won’t be as many bombs in the future.

Rating: R

Director: Fede Alvarez

Jane Levy
Dylan Minnette
Daniel Zovatto
Stephen Lang

Film Length: 98 minutes

Release Date: August 26, 2016

Distributor: Screen Gems

  • Score - 7.5/10
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