Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Jane Levy – Rocky
Stephen Lang – Norman / “The Blind Man”
Dylan Minnette – Alex
Daniel Zovatto – Money
Don’t Breathe is a fantastically tense little feature. Before going along to the cinema I had very little detail of it, knew hardly anything about it. And yet I lapped up every second and exited the cinema raving about it to a friend of mine.
This movie excels in two areas:
Single location use.
A movie set in just one space or building is a great concept. But it can go one way or the other; as long as it’s directed properly it can be brilliant – if not it can fail. Fortunately, Don’t Breathe was directed in such a way that it kept a tight air of tension continuously. 95% of the movie takes place in the blind man’s house, so it is very restricted set-wise (but then so was Home Alone and look how that turned out), and it is only a few people in a house, but by Christ less was more as the movie delivered some nerve-shredding jumpy moments and lingering airs of dread. I enjoyed this, and for once I had my phone in my hand – but couldn’t bring my eyes away from the screen to check it (you never know who might pop up on Grindr. Especially in Birmingham).
One scene sees Rocky and Alex trapped in a pitch black basement as Norman shuffles around trying to locate them. The screen shifts into night-vision mode here. They can’t see anything, and he’s blind anyway. The combined blindness makes for a juicy ‘have a taste of MY world bitches’ scenario, and I was nicely tensed all the way through.
One slow step..
Two slow step..
One moment actually had me shouting “SHIT!” out loud in shock, fantastic stuff.
Out of the confines of the basement and in to the blind man’s house doesn’t get any better for the doomed burglars. And what makes this so good is the fact the house is completely normal. No traps, no alarm bells, just the simple fact that the kids have to somehow move around the place whilst making absolutely no noise whatsoever.
Top tip: watch Don’t Breathe in a very dark space and with no surrounding noise to get the maximum atmosphere effect.
Once you’re through the heart-pounding game of Cat & Mouse in the living area, the movie then takes the viewer further below the house, into a secret living quarters where the two characters come face to face with something so shocking that even I jumped in my seat – and then drew a long intake of breath as I tried to figure out what was happening down there.
This scene is a brilliant twist in the plot, it shakes up the story and kicks a burst of energy into the movie as silence becomes very loud carnage, becomes confusion. Top marks here for mix in the dynamics.
I watched this movie with a friend, and during one of the final scenes which takes place in the living quarters, both he and I were letting out moans of horror and disgust. The vulgarity of what goes down is not for viewers who become queasy easily, be warned. Somehow though, it works and the plot twist becomes intriguing as panic rises. Don’t Breathe is one of those movies which radiates a silent countdown as certain characters have a limited amount of time to escape the tight situation they are in. I loved how this movie kept me on edge constantly, more marks here.
A movie like this hasn’t been released in years. A brilliantly tense, genuinely watchable thriller with a minimal setting. Which makes it the gem it is. Too many movies are flooded with A-list celebrities these days, pouncing from one location to another and branching off in various directions to follow each character. This is probably why I found Don’t Breathe so refreshing. It is a box – with four characters inside, and no escape. Runs the risk of being dull, but actually shrouds the viewer in a claustrophobic “what do they do now?” atmosphere.
This movie contains scenes of graphic violence. And so it bloody should, it’s what adds to the horror. But still, if you’re not one for witnessing someone being ploughed by giant garden shears or taking a fall and subsequently snapping their leg in half – do steer clear. Deep gun shot wounds, a head being smashed in with a hammer.. it’s gory stuff. Oh, and the scene with the sperm..
I won’t be explaining this. But just you wait..
Stephen Lang who plays the blind guy is just superb. The character is a monster, and Lang doesn’t hold back in storming on to the set and throwing his weight about (he’s got some nice muscle on him too).
(a-hem, not gay).
(a-hem, who am I kidding, yes I am).
“Nasty bastard” was my first opinion as the character brings one of the intruder characters down with just a single flick of his wrist, and his on-screen looming presence makes for a daunting watch. What helps is the fact the man is blind; this element adds more tension than if he could see. If he could see – simples. But the fact he is blind means he has to sniff out his prey in complete darkness, hence the title Don’t Breathe: the slightest intake of breath means he can hear them. Genius.
And that’s Don’t Breathe.
A perfect little gem, fit for a Saturday night with the girls – or guys. It is watchable and constructed of so much tension that I’m certain the more sensitive of viewer will be on the edge of their seat all the way through.
This movie is soaked with dread, panic and tight-chested fear, all of which contribute to its unique feel. Usually I don’t opt for movies like this (grungy, dull) but I gave it a shot. And left the cinema feeling thoroughly entertained. I’m not surprised it scored 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, this is one hell of a thriller.
Give it a pop.