Overall Rating: 3/5
August 26, 2016
Dir. Fede Alvarez
Rated R (for terror, violence, disturbing content, and language including sexual references)
Don’t Breathe turns certain horror tropes on their head and plays with the audience in some refreshingly creative ways. The premise involves our protagonists breaking into the home of an old, blind man to rob him–not your average home invasion setup! Alvarez uses some very meticulously well-thought-out directing and writing to create an undeniably intense film.
If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, then this is not your film. Alvarez very much tried to create something that evokes shock and fear, which this does, but things lose their way at a certain point, leaving those evoked feelings as the film’s highest offering. I wouldn’t want to get specific here because this certainly is a film that’s good to go into with a clean slate, but this film grabs you by the throat and is an in-the-moment experience. There is an amazing amount of momentum produced by the first and even second acts of this film. There’s so much momentum that the experience is stumbling over itself by the third act in an attempt to hold on to its audience.
It seems that Alvarez was smart enough to understand this and attempted to compensate by ratcheting up the intensity more and more instead of using the same finesse found earlier in the film. The result: a film that I wouldn’t want to watch again, despite enjoying it the first time.
The overall impression I was left with was severe disappointment. There was a moment in this film when I thought that it would definitely turn out to be one of the best horror films of the decade, but unfortunately by the end of the film I knew it hadn’t even come close to sticking the landing.
Still, this film offers one hell of a ride, and I would recommend it to any and all thriller and horror fans, despite the rating.