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Don’t Breathe  : Exhale Only At The Exit
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Friday, September 2, 2016
Horror
Fede Alvarez
Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto

After a long time, a small-budget horror film that isn’t about haunted houses and spirits residing in a mirror or doll. Perhaps that’s what makes director Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe creepier because it’s humans and a pet dog who unpredictably wreak violence in this lonely bungalow.

 

Three young thieves, Rocky, Alex and Money, break into empty bungalows and greedily grab all that’s on sight. Until they target a sightless war veteran’s stand-alone house to rob him of a huge cash settlement he has received on his daughter’s death.

 

That’s when the tables turn. With disturbingly quirky twists, the tension inside the bungalow is suffocating. And you begin to wonder, is the blind old man the hapless victim or should your sympathies go with the three robbers who stumble upon the unexpected?

 

The combination of horror and a blind character as the pivot forces comparisons with classic thriller Wait Until Dark. But in that 1967 film, the brilliant Audrey Hepburn was the vulnerable blind victim of a ruthless killer. In Don’t Breathe it’s sheer fear at work and not full-on empathy for either the blind old veteran or the robbers. I’d also say that the film is more tense and unexpected than jumpy-scary.

 

While all the performances are adequate, it is the director’s work that stands out. It is without a doubt unrelentingly edgy with startling turns and a substantial story.

 

Of course, for those who don’t like an occasional fix of horror, I’d say, don’t watch Don’t Breathe.

 

But for thriller addicts, there are enough heart-in-the-mouth moments and an uncomfortable end which begs a sequel.             

 

For a well-made thriller that does make you hold your breath wondering what’s going to happen next, Don’t Breathe gets a 3* rating.    

 

Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author

     

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