I don’t typically watch horror movies at all, let alone at the movie theater. However, there was something interesting about Don’t Breathe, the story of a would-be victim who turns the tables on some trespassers in his home. The film begins by introducing us to the main characters and their motivation. If we were to feel any sympathy for what they shall endure, it would help to establish an emotional connection with the characters first.
Friends Rocky, Alex, and “Money” are looking to make an easy score. They’ve had luck hitting a few homes, but now they need one more job before packing up and moving to California. Rocky (Jane Levy, Suburgatory) wants to provide a better life for her little sister, Alex (Dylan Minnette, Prisoners) is smitten by Rocky and would do anything to please her, and Money (Daniel Zovatto, It Follows) is just your typical criminal opportunist. Money tells the other two about a prime target, a blind veteran who lives alone in a largely abandoned neighborhood. He has $300,000 somewhere inside, and the trio of miscreants feel only a brief twinge of guilt at the notion of robbing a blind man blind.
It’s said that when a person loses one of their senses, the remaining four senses overcompensate for the loss by becoming more heightened. Alex, Rocky and Money have bitten off more than they can chew, preying upon a seemingly vulnerable target without realizing they are the ones entering the lion’s den. The blind man knows his house like the back of his hand, and he is uniquely advantaged compared to his intruders, despite his apparent handicap. After he gains the upper hand, I’m torn in my emotional allegiance. Do I feel sorry for these kids, or did they bring this on themselves? I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, and the tension was heart stopping. It was fascinating to watch them scramble like caged animals, unable to make a sound as the blind man moved just inches away.
Don’t Breathe is aptly titled, as you will find yourself holding your breath in terror throughout this frightful film. The premise is a good, realistic one, and I liked the moral questions posed by the anti-heroes’ own greed. If you enjoy the genre, you will definitely be pleased. Grade: A.