REVIEW | Don't Breathe (2016)

Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez of Evil Dead fame gives us a tight horror-thriller in Don't Breathe. 

Three young Detroit thieves, Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette), and Money (Daniel Zovatto) frequently break into fancy homes for a living. But after realizing that stealing valuables is not as lucrative as they thought, they decide to steal some major cash from an old guy who lives alone (Stephen Lang) in a decrepit housewho turn out to be blind.

But what is supposed to be an easy heist turns out to be just the horrific opposite.

Blind Man turns out to be a burly ex-military man suffering from a severe case of PTSD, so when the robbers get caught in the act, we are thrown into a stressful and brutal cat-and-mouse chase inside his dark house. Alvarez and cinematographer Pedro Luque's intense and brilliant camerawork, combined with a very neat sound design and effects, magnifies the horror and the tension, sucking you into the dark, suffocating labyrinth inside the house.

The chase is complex; stringing you along a series of close calls and near-escapes that will literally make you hold your breath— until you reach some mildly significant revelations. Also, Blind Man is a monster; white blank orbs for eyes, sniffing and grunting, extremely violent and livid about the home invasion, which makes him a real-life demon. This will naturally make you fear for the young and desperate criminals. Blind Man's assistant, a salivating, murderous rottweiler, is an excitingly dangerous obstacle.

There are some unsettling flaws, though. While breaking into Blind Man's house, the kids are just really, really noisy. I mean, the man is blind, not deaf. For a PTSD sufferer living alone, and whose other senses are naturally amplified, the Blind Man did not hear the dog's angry barks? Or the glass breaking, and the distinct beep-beep-beep of the security alarm? Also, the characters are always beaten to a pulp, yet they still manage to get up like nothing happened, and so you still need to justify it by chalking it up to adrenaline rush.

But overall, Don't Breathe is a taut, visually beautiful suspense-thriller. If you are looking for a horror fix at the cinemas, this will not disappoint. 

3.5 out of 5 stars
Opens August 31, 2016 in Philippine cinemas (R-13)

Photo credits: Columbia Pictures


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