Sunday, December 25, 2016
Don't Breathe (2016)
DIRECTOR: Fede Alvarez
Alex, Rocky, and Money are three thieves who secretly rob the homes of Alex father's clients. Alex's father owns a security company, and the three of them break in to steal valuables in the hope that they can sell the stolen goods to make some extra cash to get out of Detroit. The next house they decide to burgle goes south very quickly when they believe the blind man they are robbing will be an easy target, they soon realise that they've broken into the wrong house.
I will start this review by stating that I absolutely loved Fede Alvarez's remake of Sam Raimi's beloved cabin in the woods horror masterpiece The Evil Dead. I know that a lot of people weren't fans of the remake as the movie toned down the almost campy insanity of the original and ramped up the blood and gore. I was one of the ones who loved every minute of it. The remake is still to this day one of most bloody and violent Hollywood produced horror movies I've ever seen.
After loving his directional debut, I was excited to see where Fede Alvarez went with his next movie. I was expecting with the absolute bloodbath that was his Evil Dead remake, we would get another film that tried to ramp up the violence and bloodshed. Instead, Fede Alvarez went in the complete opposite direction and delivered a movie that was incredibly intense, a home invasion thriller that toned down the blood and drove up the suspense to the almost boiling point.
Don't Breathe opens on a rather dark note. The camera pans down into what appears to be a desolate street in Detroit. A woman is unconscious and being dragged by her hair up the street. The movie from this point on is steeped in dark dread. The movie doesn't take long in getting our three thieves into 'The Blind Mans' house. Once we get inside the house, this is where the film ramps up the suspense and doesn't slow down for the rest of the running time.
The entire film is one intense set piece after another. I found myself on the edge of my seat for most of Don't Breathe. Fede Alvarez proved with Don't Breathe that he is an expert at building suspense and delivering shocks without ever really resorting to loud noises and cheap jump scares. I think critics and filmgoers alike will use Don't Breathe as an example of masterclass tension building in horror films here on out. This is expert level.
The movie isn't just intense, it contains one of the most insanely twisted moments in a horror movie this year. There is a scene that involves a turkey baster that may not actually see out the intended intention behind it, but the entire scene is so messed up and ends in one of the most incredible, cheer-worthy yet stomach-churning moments of the year. It's up there with the vine rape from Evil Dead. Fede Alvarez knows how to make an audience uncomfortable.
The acting is fantastic from all involved. Jane Levy is becoming Fede Alvarez's sort-of-muse. It's now twice that they've worked together and they're a match made in film heaven. He has gotten her two best performances out of her so far. I hope they team up again. Stephen Lang as 'The Blind Man' is the standout in this movie. He's creepy, intelligent and a force to be reckoned with. I'd believe that he was blind in real life if I didn't know him from his previous roles. The cast is also rounded out by two excellent performances from Daniel Zovatto and Dylan Minnette. Both actors are great in their respected roles.
The attention to detail in this film is absolutely incredible. Looking at the walls of the house where our blind man has spent years using his hands and dirtied the walls or worn out specific areas and have him have his hands in every scene match up with the prints were just fantastic from a production design point of view. This is one of the better films I've seen and taken notice of when it comes to production details.
Visually, I found that Don't Breathe had a lot of similarities with David Fincher's Panic Room. The closing credits at the end were very similar to the opening credits of Panic Room. The movie used a lot of Fincher's fluid camera movements where the camera would pan up through floorboards and walls. As I adore David Fincher, I was entirely on board with Fede Alvarez using this type of style. Also, the movie has the best night vision scene since Silence Of The Lambs.
DEATH TOLL: 4
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A woman is dragged by her hair down the street.
- Someone is shot in the chin with a gun.
- Someone gets shot in the ear.
- Someone is shot in the cheek.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest with shears.
- A woman is repeatedly punched in the face.
- A turkey baster full of cum is slammed down someone's throat.
- Someone is shot in the back.
- A woman is punched in the back of the head.
- Someone is repeatedly hit in the head with a crowbar.
- Someone lands back first on a gun, and it goes off.
Don't Breathe is a movie that I sadly missed watching on the big screen. I absolutely regret not getting to see this film with a large audience as I enjoyed the absolute shit out of Fede Alvarez sophomore film. This is a well acted, edge of your seat, incredibly intense and at times twisted home invasion film. The movie is polished and one of the most enjoyable experiences I had with a horror film in 2016. On repeated viewings, it's lost none of its value.