I don’t see as many horror movies as I once used to, I just don’t find the concepts that riveting. I don’t see how many Paranormal Activities, Purges, or Haunting of , Exorcism of before it’s the same thing over and over with different casts, or even sometimes the same cast. How and why folks find some of these enjoyable in repetition I do not fully understand but I commend them. Then again I am the girl who watches all of the Underworld films so…who am I to judge?
So tonight I took the opportunity to watch Don’t Breathe. Should I have held my breath and waited for different movie?
Directed by Fede Alvarez, best known for his critical and financially successful remake of the Evil Dead; it tells the story of a group of Detroit street kids who dream of a better life for themselves and see home invasion and robbery as the only way to achieve that dream. They go looking for one big score and decide to pick the house of a blind man as their prey. Of course it wouldn’t be a horror movie if the tables didn’t turn on them.
The script was penned by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, who worked on Evil Dead as well. I am going to tell you the story concept is interesting. The idea of dealing with a blind target who then uses the dark as a weapon is an interesting one. It just is never fully realized. On paper this should have worked as the tension building for Act I and Act II delivers nicely, if not getting a bit repetitive at times. Act III takes you to a place where Fede y Royo control the horizontal and the vertical and left me going “is that really where you are going with it?” Then it continues to drag on….and on.
Steven Lang (Avatar) services well with his physique and physicality as The Blind Man, and does feel like a threat through the movie. Jane Levy (Evil Dead, Suburgatory) turns in decent performance as Rocky, one of the would be robbers; as does Dylan Minnette (Let Me In, Goosebumps). Their characters are pretty typical and about as thin as typical horror fare. The performances are fine, but everything you’ve seen before.
From a production standpoint, the editing is ok, but the use of sound is near perfect. It’s clearly shot on a tight budget and very little is wasted. There’s some fetishistic aspects that are clearly coming from Alvarez that I have to wonder about, but don’t particularly take away from the film. That being said the blocking and character movement makes me think at least someone can Bamf from place to place. Then there’s the final act which not only did I think it, I quite literally said “Seriously?”. Then it just…would …not….end. For no reason I could find. It didn’t add tension because at that point I didn’t care.
The movie started out with promise and then the first jump scare annoyed me. The movie did recover, but then entirely lost me with the final beats. It is a satisfactory movie in that it is at least original, but giving us no one to really root for (The Robbers or the Deranged?) left you not caring. The final climax of the film and I once again asked “why do I care?”.
The opening shot also takes a deal of tension from the move because you spend the rest of the time waiting for it to happen, since you know it has to.
Should you watch it?
If you are drunk and have an extra 10 bucks and have nothing better to do with 90 minutes of your time. You might get something out of it.
Will you buy it though?
No. No I will not.
There were like 7 trailers in front of it? I guess to pad the theatre time. It’s also not good when you have a 90 minute movie and the last 20 feel like 30 or more.
I go out of my way to avoid other reviews prior to writing my own. Since I wrote this a few hours ago, I happened to see some comments online. This is currently trending at 89% on RT with 87% audience likes. I am reviewing some of these comments and what I am taking as eye rollingly painful others are enjoying. I didn’t feel the suspense. I don’t feel that the imagery is *that claustrophobic* nor particularly tension building. I may not be cut out for movies like this…or they aren’t cut out for me.