Directed by Fede Alvarez
Fear State: High (4.5/5 Stars) ****
Don't Breathe is a fresh perspective on the standard horror home invasion plot with a new villain that makes your blood curdle. The film is set in deserted Detroit effected by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. We are introduced to three of the main characters who are literally robbing Peter to pay Paul. They have created a air tight scheme breaking into homes and boosting their findings. The booster provides a tip on the next big score. Lots of cash in a home with an elderly man. It's all Rocky needs to rescue her little sister from the impoverished trailer home mentally abusive mother set up painted as her character background in the beginning. Plenty of motive breathes life into Rocky's aggressive stance on pursuing the elderly man's home as the next and last hit. It's always the last hit that can prove to be the most detrimental.
Inside the home of the final score the three thieves, Rocky (Jane Levy), Money (Daniel Zovatto) and Alex (Dylan Minnette), find extra security they didn't anticipate. They unwittingly encounter the homeowner whose a war veteran blinded I'm assuming during combat. The film dives into the notion of when one of the senses are lost the others are heighten. It appears that the blind man has chiseled his ability to navigate his home with stealth agility and the precision of a predator. The thieves find out some haunting revelations about the blind man that will have them questioning if they will risk turning themselves in to reveal his secrets or simply leave with what they came for.
Director Fede Alvarez does an excellent job of taking you into this home and making you feel apart of the terror. The film has very little dialogue and plays upon the movie goers senses. During the majority of the film the thieves are trying to hide not breathe for he (the blind man) will narrow down their position in the home. He's hellbent on mercilessly killing each one of them. Hey, they broke into his home. He's well within his rights to kill them. The alternative would be if he calls the police he risks bringing to light his own dark secrets. Thus eminent death becomes the only resolution for his intruders. I loved the exhilaration provided in the cat and mouse scenes, the violent scuffles that ensue throughout and the constant tug of war of who to root for. Do I cheer on the blind man whose been violated by the initial break in or the thieves that might ultimately become victims of the blind man's secret psychotic behavior. This film is a great addition to the solid efforts of the horror films released in 2016. Go see it for yourself. If you get scared you can hide. Just remember not to breathe. He'll here you.