Don’t Breathe is the kind of nightmare that you wake up crying for your mama. It is a wildly scary and edge-of-the-seat thriller that works on varied levels. The film is relentless from start to finish and even after it reaches a point where you think that all is done, it just keeps coming at you from different angles. I heard great things about this film from one and all who had seen this film. So naturally, my expectations of the film were high. That’s not always a good thing as it might sometimes make the film lesser as your expectations soars. That was not the case here as the film literally blew me away.
A group of small-time thieves Rocky, Alex and Money get into the house of a blind Iraq-war veteran getting a tip that he might be having a stash of cash that he received as compensation. Little do they know that the man is a fearsome killer who would stop at nothing to protect something else that he has hidden which is not exactly the cash that the team came after. One of the team members gets killed straight away and as soon as the man realizes that there are two more in his house, the remaining two have to fight for their lives as the man and his equally dangerous dog comes all guns blazing against the remaining two.
The film unfolds in a claustrophobic setting and yet somehow there are enough surprises round the corner to catch you off guard. It gives you a kind of feeling of getting a massive open world scenario inside the bounds of a house. The sound designing and the lighting is perfect which really make you feel that you are inside the house of a blind man. The director does well to keep the proceedings utterly believable. There is a few lapse of composure here and there but that can be pardoned as the film is so very relentless. The action too is kept highly organic and believable.
Stephen Lang plays the blind man with gusto. He is brilliant and scary at the same place. His mannerisms are in strong keeping with the character and the physicality that he brings to the role is overwhelming. I didn’t know whether to root for him or hate him. At least for the first hour or so, I was rooting for him as he was the man who was being wronged but after the interval, there comes an expose which proves that he is a monster of a different class. Post that expose the film trades a path that many didn’t like but I felt that it ended as best as it could have.
Jane Levy, the girl from the most recent Evil Dead film does great. She has her own reasons for getting into the robbery and time and again her need makes her take steps that put her in deeper and deeper danger. Her acting is spot on here. I just loved the way she deals with the terror that her character faces as she witnesses her boyfriend being shot in the face and is unable to make even a sound. As the story progresses she is subjected to some more terrifying situations and you can feel her fear and anger through Levy’s essay. The climax, however, takes the cake. The final showdown with the dog and the blind man will make you curl into a ball. Dylan Minnette has a longer role here and he doesn’t disappoint. He feels the part that he essays and playing the friend zoned dude who sacrifices it all for the girl he loves will find takers among many.
Don’t Breathe has its share of jump scares. They are not the cheap kind but are apt and work perfectly well in the situations where they are extracted. I loved the first sequence when the group realizes the power of the man they are up against. The sequence in the basement and the ones involving the dog are utterly fearsome. I keep mentioning the dog because, for a long time, I haven’t been frightened by one in the manner in which this one did. You must watch this film to understand what I mean exactly. Once you have done so, I believe you will agree with me. Another huge plus for the film is its eerie setting and the dramatic spates of violence that pop up every now and then.
Overall, Don’t Breathe is a superb thriller that works well in every department. Its antagonist, if you may call the blind man so, turns it into an almost horror film. If you don’t have the stomach for films involving bloodshed, jump scares, gross violations and fearsome figures, steer clear of this one. For all those who enjoy this kind of fares, this is one of the most rollicking films of the year.
Rating : 4.5/5 (4.5 out of 5 Stars)