Don’t wait for the DVD. Don’t wait for this film to one day show up on Netflix. “Don’t Breathe,” a movie with enough twists and turns to give a person whiplash, should be seen on the big screen, in a dark theater and surrounded by an audience as scared senseless as you. “Don’t Breathe” offers a precious gift to fans of thriller and horror and is sure to become a new genre classic, comparable to 2002’s “Panic Room” and 2011’s “You’re Next.”
Written by Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues and directed by Fede Alvarez (“Evil Dead”), “Don’t Breathe” was released on Aug. 26, receiving generally positive feedback from both critics and the public. The gripping plot of the movie revolves around three young adults in Detroit who have begun careers as criminals by burglarizing expensive houses and stealing jewelry and other valuables.
Money (portrayed by David Zovatto of “It Follows”) plays the part of the careless money-hungry ringleader of the group, while Alex (Dylan Minnette of “Goosebumps”) operates as the voice of logic and reason and Rocky (Jane Levy of “Evil Dead”) is the happy medium, keeping the peace among them all. When Money receives a tip about a rich blind man who lost his sight in the war and got a huge cash settlement after the death of his daughter, he jumps to the only logical conclusion that, of course, they should rob him.
Rocky, hoping to obtain enough money to allow her and her little sister to escape their abusive mother, agrees immediately. Alex reluctantly gets on board as well, unable to bring himself to disappoint Rocky. Once inside the veteran’s home, however, the trio realizes they may have made a terrible, deadly mistake. The old man (played by Stephen Lang) is not as weak or vulnerable as they had assumed. There is also the slight issue of his guard dog, a vicious Rottweiler. The thieves become trapped in the house and must fight to survive in the classic style of any home invasion thriller.
“Don’t Breathe” is scary. It is intense, but above all, it is unbearably suspenseful. By the third act, you will want nothing more than to get off the emotional roller-coaster that is this film. But much like a roller-coaster or an anxiety-fueling haunted trail, you will love every minute of it. As our protagonists hide in plain sight, viewers begin to wonder: Can he sense their presence? Can he smell them? Could he possibly be able to hear their breathing?
The terror is relentless. As soon as it seems the characters are safe, they’re immediately thrust back into peril. Viewers may even find themselves forgetting to breathe during the most nerve-racking of the film’s scenes. The antagonist is not just a man but a horrible unyielding force, refusing to die, refusing to give up. The movie’s runtime is only an hour and twenty minutes, yet the mayhem seems to go on forever.