By Emanuel Ortiz
What a great year it is for the horror genre. Don’t Breathe adds to the already impressive list of horror movies released in 2016 with its original story. The movie follows a group of thieves that steal from different houses to make money. They hear of a house that might be sitting on a large amount of money but quickly begin to realize that the blind man who lives in the house is not to be underestimated. Stephen Lang plays the blind man the trio thieves plan to rob and he is absolutely terrifying. He is unable to see so he relies on his other senses to defend his home.
The premise is rather simple but the way director Fede Alvarez executes it is incredibly creative and fresh. The setting of the movie primarily takes place in a single house. Alvarez uses this house to its greatest use having the thieves and the blind man go through different rooms of the house playing a game of cat and mouse. Alvarez really explores all of the possibilities of being trapped in this worn down house and it consistently shows throughout the movie because once the thieves enter the house, the movie just ramps up from there. The movie just goes off from there never seeming to run out of new idea to throw at its audience. There is never more than two minutes of peace and the tension rises until the payoff at the end and man does this movie payoff. All of the rising tension could have been a wasted opportunity and with a different director or writer, it could have easily turned out that way but Alvarez really has a grip on this material.
Although Don’t Breathe is labeled as a horror movie, it’s more of a thriller and suspense movie. That’s not to say there aren’t scares inside of this movie. There are, but nothing that will make you afraid after leaving the theater. You’ll be more disturbed than afraid. The small cast does a great job in this movie. The thieves do a great job of conveying fear on their faces when faced with the blind man. There isn't much dialogue in the movie which is especially true for the blind man who has a bit over 10 lines throughout the entire movie. Everyone in this movie attempts to be silent so they don't alert each other. Tension quickly builds because of this.
In terms of things that might not have worked as well, there was a reveal in the third act of the movie that wasn't really necessary. I did not hate this twist but I thought the movie would have been better if they hadn't included this unnecessary twist. The audience was already fully engaged in the movie and adding this twist felt as though it was to add run time to the movie. Apart from this, everything in this movie paid off. I really loved the back and forth the characters had in terms of who was "winning" in t his game of survival.
Don't breathe is the perfect title because of how many times the robbers and even the audience, finds themselves holding their own breath. The movie doesn't take long for the characters to enter this house. We see a quick flash of these character's lives helping us understand why they do this. After that, we jump right in to the action.