The film, DON'T BREATHE, tells the story of 3 young small town criminals named Alex, Rocky, and "Money", all of whom think big, and dream of escaping their lonely existence in Detroit, for the sunny shores of California. With this in mind, they spend their time, working for a hustler, Raoul, who has the trio breaking into houses, stealing valuables, in order to cash in. Unfortunately, no matter how good their take of each haul may be, it just isn't enough to make their dream of leaving Michigan behind. But this is when one of them, "Money" stumbles upon the chance of a lifetime it seems, when he finds the house of a war vet. "Money" has learned that the man, was awarded a hefty settlement, when his daughter was killed by a drunk driver, hailing from a rich family. The settlement got the man, a total of $300,000. It's a sum, that looks like a goldmine for the crooks, especially, "Money" and Rocky, whom look to convince Alex to join in on the plan. At first Alex refuses, as the house is enrolled with the security company, where his father works. But he soon thinks it over, and things are soon a go on the plan. The plan in question is then solidified when they note that the man that they intend to rob, is blind. Because, what could be more easy than stealing from a blind man right? Well, as they find, the particular task in this case, is not as easy as they thought. The plan is set in motion in the darkness of 2am. The 3 criminals initially have difficulty getting in, as the door, and windows feature bars, and locks, that, for some reason Alex's dad's company do not have keys for. After some thinking, the slimmer female that Rocky is, slithers through the last remaining window to get both she and her accomplices in. Once inside, the begin their usual prowling tactics, unfortunately, as they try to blow the lock off of a heavily guarded door to the basement, the blind man, is unexpectedly awoke by the gunfire. At the man's first appearance, the intruders try to stay calm, as not to alert the man of their presence in the house. Unfortunately, "Money" in a panicked state speaks out, and tries to make a calm resolution with the man, Unfortunately, though, he is not having it, as the man takes charge, proving that he is more adapt to his surroundings than those attempting to rob him believed. The man gets the upper-hand on "Money", which results in a shocking occurrence, which send both AleX into a panic, as well as, a fight for survival. They keep quiet, is an attempt to survive the unpredictability of the blind man, as they look for a way out. However, soon, crime clashes with an even darker secret, when the man is revealed to be far more sinister, and calculated, than he would appear.
When the TV spots began to run for DON'T BREATHE, Director Fede Alvarez's follow up to his EVIL DEAD remake, I actually didn't expect the story to be that great. Although I loved his version of EVIL DEAD, the story for this one, just seemed too simple. And although she is so beautiful, I initially thought that Alvarez's directing Jane Levy in 2 films back to back was a bit of a novelty. But with that said, damn first impressions to hell, because after seeing this film, I would take 10 more. It's not a remake, or re-imagining, but an original compelling horror story thank God.
When it comes to DON'T BREATHE, although the story for the most part is simple, the real surprise with it is the discovery, that it is actually a lot more complex than it initially appears. DON'T BREATHE is a horror film that is progressively layered, in that it feeds information to the viewer little by little, as the story moves along, with many surprises in store as the story becomes that much more interesting. The blind man, first appears to be defenseless. but is revealed to be far more capable. And then later, he's even revealed to be not as innocent as he seems, which takes the story to a whole other level. These are elements that develop over time, as the film cautiously spins the story. There are many a time near the end, where a character appears to be down for the count, until they prove otherwise. I personally felt that the film handled these particular moments well, with just a little clever trickery.
The characters themselves are thinly fleshed, yet, have just enough back story, before things get underway, in order to unsure a sort of an emotional connection with the audience. The character of "Rocky". is a young girl who is struggling at home. Her mom is a drunk, as is mom's boyfriend, and so, she takes the responsibility of looking after her little sister. She sees moving to California, as a way to a better life for them both. Likewise is "Money". who is named after what he lacks, as he is in the clutches of the crime boss, who takes much of his loot. Alex, is one caught in the middle. He's a quiet kid, and is distant. He is secretly in love with Rocky, as well. When he learns of Rocky's California aspirations, he is let down, as he fears living his dad behind. Although character details do not go much beyond this, Jane Levy("Rocky")Dylan Minnette("Alex), and Daniel Zovatto("Money") do a good job, in that they create characters that we care about in the end. Stephen Lang's "blind man", is the character with the most development, however, most all of it comes at the beginning of the film. The rest of the character portrayal is told through actions, with little dialogue. With this, Lang creates a character that is creepy, most on account of he being unpredictable. It is a role well performed.
Overall, I must say that I was really surprised at how well this one turned out. Because when you think of a home invasion film, which is what this is - but in reverse, there's a feeling that all ideas have been expended. But DON'T BREATHE, manages to be something that is highly entertaining, as it mixes all things; style, suspense, and atmosphere. As I said, it's a nice surprise.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
As I said, I really liked DON'T BREATHE. Prior to this viewing, I had watched it a few months back. I enjoyed it a lot then, and this time, things were no different. It's good to see that well made, original horror films, are still being made every now and then. Yes, Fede Alvarez's does it again. From here on out, I will be anticipating his films as a result.
Special Features include
- Deleted Scenes with Director's Commentary
- Commentary with Director Fede Alvarez, Co-Writer Rodo Sayagues and Actor Stephen Lang
- Five Featurettes:
*Creating the Creepy House
*Meet the Cast
*Man in the Dark
*The Sounds of Horror