REVIEW – Don’t Breathe…no, seriously – don’t

Holy cow holy cow holy cow holy cow holy cow.

Regular listeners of The Jon McComb Show know I’m a huge fan of horror/thriller/action/suspense films. My first memory of a solid suspense film was The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992). Rebecca de Mornay was a force to be reckoned with, and it solidified my love for the suspense genre. This love eventually branched out into horror films, like The Thing (1982), Dawn of the Dead (1978 first and foremost, but, I will also accept 2004 – one of the few movies Zack Snyder directed relatively well) The Evil Dead (1981), and the original Saw (2004).

Don’t Breathe has an opportunity to join the ranks of some of these films, and could easily become a cult classic.

The biggest names attached to this project are Fede Alvarez and Sam Raimi. Raimi is a legend, arguably best know for his work on The Evil Dead, its reboot, and, also recently, the Spiderman franchise – yeah, the one with Tobey Maguire. Alvarez’s American feature directing debut was actually Evil Dead (2013), which, not-so-coincidentally enough, cast Jane Levy as Mia, the reboot’s protagonist. She’s also taking the lead in Don’t Breathe, playing Rocky, one part of a burglar trio. Also starring are Dylan Minnette (he starred in Goosebumps last year) and (at least for me) an unrecognizable Stephen Lang, who you may know from 2009’s Avatar. 

The premise of this film is pretty simple: one of our three burglars is looking for a big job. He hears a rumour about a blind, solitary man who is sitting on at least $300,000 of cash he won in a settlement. They decide to do the job.

But there’s just one teeny, tiny little thing: our blind man is an Army veteran, which means he’s probably going to Chuck Norris the three out of his house, right?

Let’s just say this guy makes Chuck Norris look like a teddy bear.

Don’t Breathe is impressively written, includes a smart, bizarre twist, and touts superb acting from all parties. And, in this film, you can’t just place characters in ‘good’ and ‘bad’ boxes. I think ‘bad’ and ‘worse’ is more appropriate – but that’ll be for you to decide when you go and see this film. I should also add that the main characters are very well-written. The juxtaposition of what they are (burglars, blind man) as opposed to who they are (you get to know them and their motivations quite well in this film) is exceptional, and makes for some really dynamic acting.

I also really liked the camera work done in establishing The Blind Man’s home. The cinematographer made use of continuous shots to take you on a tour through the home, with some of the shots really establishing the kind of rooms you’re going to be in throughout the film. It was neat to see that tour tied in with the three burglars rummaging through the abode.

This isn’t the kind of film that will have you shrieking in terror. This is the kind of film that’ll have you on the edge of your seat, staring in silence at the screen, waiting for the visual consequences you suffer, because of the character’s actions. Levy, Minnette and Lang are all exceptional in this movie. Levy was pretty good in Evil Dead – but this is going to be the movie you remember her for.

The ideas involved in the writing are also original. FINALLY! Someone writes something that isn’t based off of something else, or a reboot. There are a few scenes – I won’t spoil it for you – where your jaw will drop. Brace yourselves.

Don’t Breathe is essentially flawless. It’s the kind of movie people will be talking about. I could see this doing really well at the box office this weekend, but I don’t see it blowing up, because it caters to a certain genre. Financially, it should do well, on a budget of $9.9 million – but I really hope people go to see this movie, because, like Kubo, it’s an example of multiple levels of talent at work.

Five breathless moments out of five (though there were quite a few breathless moments for me, really).

An absolute must-see that will surely please horror/thriller fans.

Check out the trailer below!

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