Don't Breathe (2016) - In an attempt to support horror movies more actively I have been trying to commit to see more films in the theater. Tonight Don't Breathe and its bad idea gone worse plot was the target. My wife and I headed over but we never seem to agree on movies since she can not deal with scary at all, so she went off to see Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) while I went in to see this film. At the 7pm showing the audience was about 40 people a mix of young and older with some talkers that were not too annoying. Not a great crowd but at least I could gauge some reactions when the film was over. What I heard was very positive with quite a few people clapping and some of the younger people talking excitedly about the movie. If representative of other audiences I think this film will get some good word of mouth.
The plot about three out of luck twenty somethings Money (Daniel Zovatto), Rocky (Jane Levy) and Alex (Dylan Minnette) who using information and keys gained from Alex's father's security business are robbing houses for small time gains. Set in Detroit with its bleak abandoned neighborhoods we get the picture that options are really slim for the three. Still Alex is cautious while Rocky and boyfriend Money would love a bigger score. That opportunity comes when Money hears about a blind man who is sitting on a boatload of settlement money. The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) has a sad story an Iraq veteran who was blinded by a grenade explosion who lost his daughter to a wealthy young woman who killed her in a car accident. The settlement money from that event is the target of the three burglars. He lives alone with his rottweiler on a mostly empty street and seems to the kids an easy target. The film does quite a few things that say something about wealth and poverty. Set in poverty we see the thieves targeting mostly nice houses, taking enough from each to survive. The owners of those houses are seen as having more than they need. The woman who killed the Blind Man's daughter got off because "rich girls don't go to jail" so for the poor there is no justice. Both the Robin Hood idea and the injustice of wealthy is to try to build sympathy for The Blind Man and the thieves. Rocky is seen with her really shitty Mother basically having to care for her little sister in her Mom's place. She wishes to get enough money to take her sister and escape to California. The blind man is the victim that will have to loose his money so she can do this so the film makes them both victims.
After drugging the dog with some tainted meat the trio find there way into what is a really well locked down house. In the house they are not finding much but a door so locked they figure it has to be where the money is. While Alex is outside they are interrupted by the Blind Man who wakes and comes downstairs. Money and Rocky freeze and Money pulls a gun on the man with some unfortunate and awkward line about knowing what's behind the door. His mistake when the Blind Man ends up winning the struggle for the gun. Rocky standing silently watches as her boyfriend is killed. The blind man figuring out that there is at least one more person in the house proceeds to lock every possible exit and start listening. Here now begins the thrilling cat and mouse game as Alex and Rocky try to get out of the house alive and with the money they eventually locate. A twist in the story that should not be given away makes the audience realize that the Blind Man is not so innocent or helpless for that matter. Still Writer director Fede Alvarez and co-writer Rodo Sayagues pull punches with the character giving ample reasons why he has done what he has done. Maybe its because they made him a military veteran but boy they work hard at making him sympathetic. A injured soldier, grieving father and the last bit on the television report at the end of the movie all really are designed to make things okay with the Blind Man even though he is a killer (granted Money did break in and pull a gun) as well as another twist that is more than repulsive. It can not be overlooked or explained away with grief, the Blind Man is really mentally ill but his actions are awful and should not be explained away.
The action and thrills with Rocky, Alex and the Blind Man with his again awake dog is really well done. The struggle to survive and escape with the cash and the blind man with a gun are enough to keep the audience on the edges of their seats throughout the taut 88 minute run time. A little slight of hand camera work later in the film is well played in making us think one thing when something different happened. Some really great sequences with quite a few well timed jump scares by the dog make the film really active considering the small set and limited number of characters. Everyone gets bruised and battered by the end fighting to survive The struggle plays out well but the strangely upbeat ending felt like another punch pulled. The acting is good with Lang toning down his regularly larger than life energy to pull emotions without being big. An intimidating actor who is big and strong looking he really is perfect for this role. Levy who is usually the best person in whatever she is in carries her role well and makes a great final girl. She was Mia in the Evil Dead (2013) remake and carried the under rated television show Suburgatory. Alverez does a great job keeping the pacing up and delivering tense, danger filled scenes. This film is very much worth seeing and you should all head out to the theater and give this film some money.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter
is dedicated to following and being followed by
people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them
follow me back. (Not really expecting that though) It really is an experiment and where I love the
community it is a way to keep track of what is going on by the people
involved in it. I am now following over 188 people while the
followers is only 31 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow
just anyone back. :)