Looking Back at 2010s Films: Don’t Breathe (2016)

14 Oct

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By Tanner Smith

“Don’t Breathe” is a tense white-knuckler that seems like a fun thrill ride until you’re suddenly thrust into WTF-land! Imagine a rollercoaster that starts slow, picks up speed, takes you on terrifying close calls, brings you ups and downs…and then all of a sudden, instead of giving you one quick downward finish, it stops at the top of the track, shakes violently, backtracks real quickly, and then goes back to its usual route (THEN it gives you the quick downward finish)!

That’s this movie!!

“Don’t Breathe” could’ve worked as a well-done b-movie…and then it delves into sick, serious territory with a torture scenario that’s as outrageous as it is terrifying. I won’t give it away, but…yecch!

That could easily be a slam against the movie, but it works as a solid horror film nonetheless. I didn’t see the twist coming…I’m never going to forget it either. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

And no, I’m not giving it away here.

Our protagonists are three young thieves (Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) who burglarize enough wealthy homes to get enough cash to leave their hometown of Detroit. They hear about a house in a sketchy neighborhood that supposedly has a bundle of money stashed somewhere inside. They decide to steal the loot at night, while the house owner (Stephen Lang) is asleep. The guy is an old military vet, and he’s blind–he wouldn’t cause any trouble if he woke up and discovered someone was in his house…would he?

Oh yes….yes he would.

So now, our heroes are trapped in the house with a blind man who’s not as helpless as he appears. And he’s not about to let his burglars leave…alive. They try everything they can in order to escape, but the guy is one step ahead of them most of the time, and…it turns out there’s a very disturbing secret he’s hiding…that’s all I’ll say about that.

It’s all a lot of fun, until it gets to that revelation, when we’re just thinking to ourselves, “No no no no no NO NO NO NO NO!!!” (Or maybe that was just me.) The film does pick up speed again during the climax, which features a tense killer-dog moment that rivals any moment I’ve seen in “Cujo” or ‘Man’s Best Friend.”

Seriously, that twist reminds me of something I’d find in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”…fittingly enough, this film’s director Fede Alvarez also directed “The Girl In the Spider’s Web.”

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