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Movie Review: Don't Breathe

Updated on August 31, 2016

Spoiler Free

As much as I'll admit outside of trailers is the existence of a pretty big plot twist. I'll avoid specifics but I recommend you staying far from other reviews if you have interest in this film as it's pretty jarring and works really well for the film.

Film poster for Don't Breathe
Film poster for Don't Breathe | Source

Initial Impressions

So I get a pretty intense trailer showcasing a bunch of home invaders with a blind man. Things get intense and violent very fast and everything is drenched in an aura of menace. The trailer wasted no time in getting me involved and interested after a single viewing. And now after seeing said film, I remain impressed.

The visuals, the plot, Stephen Lang, and most importantly the sound make this film genuinely threatening. Once the scares start occurring, your heart rate will not slow down. And while I'm going to praise the use of sound later on, there are plenty of unsettling moments driven by pure visuals. The 'protagonists' portray perfect fear reactions and aside from getting the plot moving (seriously, once you see a house barred up, you don't invade it), characters will repeatedly make smart decisions, which is always welcome in a horror film.

All that being said, while I enjoyed it and I'm very glad to have seen it, I doubt I'll ever watch it again. It is well and truly exhausting, has a particuarly powerful gag moment, and I feel as though the twists will no longer have any impact on me. All the more reason I'm happy to have seen it in theaters rather than waiting to rent it, I suppose.

Alex (Dylan Minnette) hides from the Blind Man (Stephen Lang)
Alex (Dylan Minnette) hides from the Blind Man (Stephen Lang) | Source

The Plot

You have three kids, two in a couple while the third wheel seems pretty interested in the female person. It's shown early on that they are home burglars, breaking in, taking stuff, and selling it to a fence as their source of income. They all do it for different reasons, whether it's for spending cash, saving up money to leave town and start a new life elsewhere, or simply for the companions it seems. They set their eyes on a blind old man who lives alone who apparently owns over 300k in a settlement. As you might guess, things don't go quite so smoothly.

The plot might be the weakest part of the film, but that's only because it serves more as a vehicle for all the tension and scares you're about to witness. You won't be too invested in the actual heroes (because sometimes it's honestly hard to like people who are willing to break into your house and steal stuff) but that's honestly okay.

The Sound of Terror

The soundtrack and usage of audible cues and pure silence is masterful here. The Blind Man is completely silent, only making noise when he chooses to. You can't confidently keep track of him even within the house so when he appears, it's jarring. Items in the environment that seem that they should have sound do so. Whenever the film is completely silent, you cannot physically relax. It's used repeatedly, making you always nervous always expecting, and for an hour and a half film it works very well.

As a side note, Stephen Lang's purposefully gravelly voice (after he gives up his feeble old man's tone) adds to the disturbia. It's one of the few instances of a forced voice that doesn't grate on me (thank you, Nolan's Batman trilogy).

The Burglars (from left to right): Money (Daniel Zovatto), Rocky (Jane Levy), and Alex (Dylan Minnette)
The Burglars (from left to right): Money (Daniel Zovatto), Rocky (Jane Levy), and Alex (Dylan Minnette) | Source

Rated R

There's a lot of disturbing scenes and plenty of violence, so go figure.

There's a good amount of profanity and implied sexual violence as well (the latter isn't actually shown).

Obviously not a family friendly film.

A good, if a bit spoiler-y trailer

Closing Thoughts

If you want something that will grip you from start to finish, able to deal with some squeamish and violent material, and simply be impressed by the quality of film making and suspense, check this out. As said before, I'm only giving it a single watch and you may too, so plan accordingly.

Rocky blind in the dark
Rocky blind in the dark | Source

Tl; dr

  • horror-thriller reverse home invasion
  • Plot is only a vehicle for the thrills
  • absolute masterful use of sound and suspense
  • gripping from the first scare to the last
  • Worth only a single watch from author
  • Worth seeing it in a theatre or at home (if you have a good sound system)

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    • JG Hemlock profile image

      JG Hemlock 16 months ago from VISIONS AND DREAMS

      We saw the movie. We loved it. Kept you on the seat the whole time. Let it be told...don't ever break into the house of a vet...don't mess with a vet...don't even try. It won't end pretty. LOL