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article imageReview: ‘Don’t Breathe’ holds on until the very end(s) Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 26, 2016 in Entertainment
‘Don’t Breathe’ is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that turns the heist movie on its head, but sacrifices some of its intensity for everlasting suspense.
There’s no such thing as the perfect crime; there’s always unexpected variables that require alterations or improvisation, and sometimes these surprises are enough to derail the whole operation. Murphy’s Law states that something can and will go wrong in even the best laid plans — the question becomes one of the final outcome. In Don’t Breathe, a group of amateur thieves discover their victim is a bigger problem than the police in even their worst case scenario.
Money, Alex and Rocky (Daniel Zovatto, Dylan Minnette and Jane Levy) have been doing low-risk house robberies for some time. They survey their target, take less than $10,000 in goods and then sell it to a black market broker. However these small jobs are not getting them to their goal of leaving town fast enough; so when a too-good-to-be-true tip lands in their lap, they jump on it. There’s a man (Stephen Lang) who lives alone in a dilapidated house in an unoccupied neighbourhood. But he’s living well below his means after receiving a hefty settlement following his daughter’s death, which means the money is hidden somewhere in the house. And the cherry on top of their temptation sundae is he’s also blind.
This is a reverse heist movie in which the robbers are pursued by their target. Trapped in the blind man’s house with his secrets makes escape far more difficult then they could’ve imagined. He’s unsurprisingly paranoid and has taken corresponding precautions; that, combined with his keen sense of hearing and optional use of light, turns his home into a prison for the intruders. Though there is some introductory content at the start of the film, it doesn’t really find its stride until the burglary begins. From the moment they walk up the blind man’s driveway, the intensity begins to build and is more-or-less maintained throughout the rest of the picture.
While writer/director Fede Alvarez demonstrates a clear understanding of the fundamentals of creating an effective thriller in his sophomore feature, there are also some serious issues with the movie. At the film’s start, there is a significant plot point that remains unaddressed for the rest of the picture even though it is a catalyst for the main narrative. Then the final act consists of a seemingly endless series of conclusions. Each time the narrative appears to have found its finale, someone off-screen says “But wait, there’s more.” Even though the individual endings are suitable, their procession becomes somewhat tedious by the time the credits finally roll. In addition, most of the big reveals are generally predictable — though they are incorporated into the narrative well.
In spite of its faults, the film is a mostly respectable thriller with a talented cast and tangible atmosphere that’s received the stamp of approval from music icon and horror aficionado icon Slash.
Director: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Jane Levy, Stephen Lang and Dylan Minnette
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