Don’t Breathe (2016) Review

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Summary: Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.
**As this movie came out last year, I’m probably going to spoil it. Maybe not throughout but in the cons, I will be spoiling the twist and ending. So be aware if you haven’t seen this movie and don’t want to be spoiled. I will put another warning when it comes up so you can skip it if you like.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Stephen Lang as The Blind Man. So this man is a blind war vet. He has a large sum of money in his house after his daughter was killed in a car accident. He seems very melancholy and sad about her death, which is understandable. However, when he realizes that people are in his house, he defends his house like a predator. He is scary regardless of the fact that he’s blind. He’s so scary but he is also brutal. He knows his house and he hunts down these kids. I’ve only seen Stephen Lang in Avatar and of course being the villain in that film he is very scary and he can totally see in that. I think he played this part very well, in being sad, a hunter, a victim and being very scary.
  • Jane Levy as Rocky. She is really the lead of the film, Rocky lives with her younger sister, mom and her mom’s alcoholic boyfriend and she’s using the items they steal to try and get money to go out to California. She seems to be a survivor and a fighter but that’s all that’s really distinguishing about her. She cares about her sister and she has a thing for ladybugs. This is the first time I’ve seen Jane Levy in a role, I thought she was good for her part, the moments when she’s scared, I believed she was, the great scene in the basement where it’s completely dark, I believed her fear and desperate need to get out. The times where she had to fight, same thing. She was good.
  • Dylan Minnette as Alex. He seemed like he was a lot younger than the other two, and he seemed like a good kid. I definitely wanted to know how he got mixed up in robbing houses with them, if it was only because he had a thing for Rocky, but he may not have had a good relationship with his dad (but we don’t really know that) but he was also smart. He was against robbing the blind man when he learned that he was a war vet and I was like “YES, my name sake, you better be the smart one. We don’t rob blind war veterans” but of course he caves. Alex was a smart kid, but obviously someone who likes to be a hero as he had a few chances to go but he stuck around for the girl. I really like Dylan Minnette, he is always likable even when he’s being stupid or kind of mean, I wanted to see this movie because he was in it anyway.
  • Daniel Zovatto as Money. He is kind of stereotypical in how he acts. He has his little braids, his tattoos and his attitude. He seems like he’s the leader of their trio, he’s crass, in your face and impulsive. I mean, Daniel Zovatto was fine in his part, I didn’t get attached to him because he’s that character that I went “oh he’s gonna be the first to go”. He’s just… that guy that got them to the house and was stupid.
The Direction. With suspense and thriller movies, it definitely helps when the direction is used in a way that makes the viewer fill like their involved in the movie. When the three characters first break into the blind man’s house, the camera follows each of them as they search the house, it follows from Money, out of the room, to Rocky, out of the room to Alex and around and back where you don’t know if there is someone there or not. When Money gets into the blind man’s bedroom, the camera goes under the bed (to show the gun) and comes out the other side… it’s so intense.
The Tension/Music. If there is something this movie does extremely well, it’s building the tension and using the music to do so. This movie is best when all of the lights are off, I don’t consider it scary (especially since I don’t like scary movies anyway) but it definitely can make the viewer be tense the entire time. There are points in this film where it’s silent and all you can hear are the characters breathing in fear, or trying not to breathe and it’s completely dark (at least to them) and we can only see them grappling around in the dark. It was so much that I felt my heart pounding as I wanted them to find ways to get out. This movie builds the tension so well. The music alongside it helps set the mood.
The Story. So the first half to the story is very simple. These kids want to leave Detroit to a better life, so they break and enter into people’s houses, so when they find out about a house that holds a lot of money, that is owned by a blind man, it seems like an easy hit. Turns out they were wrong as they quickly become the hunted. That’s fine and simple because the movie didn’t really need more than that. The movie is a survival movie without the usual gore and blood that these types of movies may have. I think that’s important to note.
Cons:
Character Motivations. Outside of Rocky, I don’t think any of the main three really had clear motivations as to why they were doing what they were doing. Money might have just wanted to get money for it, but he never really said, same can be said for Alex. Yeah, Money made the dig that Alex was doing it because he was “in love” with Rocky, but sure, that’s motivation enough to go and rob houses… to please the girl you love but aren’t sure they feel the same about you. The Blind Man has a secret that while I get it, I mean… it’s like but why? That’s so weird and just ridiculous.
The Story/Twist. There will be spoilers in this part, so skip over this if you don’t want to be spoiled. So, like I said in the “pros” the simple part of the story with the kids is fine and it helps that it’s not over the top and that it’s straight forward. Now, there is an extra story that is revealed in the film about halfway through. Alex and Rocky discover a girl tied up in the basement of the man’s house, she’s harnessed to a padded area and her mouth covered with like a leather thing. It turns out she is the girl who allegedly killed the blind man’s daughter. So, Rocky and Alex try to bring her with them to escape, she can barely walk (I mean, I would have left her because obviously he wants her for some reason and set off the alarm or left an anonymous tip or something) and the blind man shows up and shoots her, killing her. When he finds out she’s dead, he cries out “my baby” and when he thinks he killed Alex after beating him bloody, he captured Rocky and tied her in the padded room. He tells her that since they robbed him of the girl, and his baby, that now Rocky would give him his baby. He is going to artificially inseminate her with a turkey baster and of course she fights. While I got it, it’s also just weird and I felt that the movie didn’t need that part. In terms of how it ended, with Rocky getting away with the money and the blind man surviving after having killed both Alex and Money, he bought her silence about the truth and she gets the money and California with her sister. I get it, I just thought it was weird. Plus, he says “I never forced myself on her” but it’s still rape and it just felt weird.
Spoiler over.
Character Choices. So in any movie characters make dumb decisions, but these characters really make some dumb decisions to the point where I was like “really?” I mean I get that you want to be a hero and what not, but sometimes you gotta make the smart choice in order to make the best choice. If you don’t already have an escape route, don’t go back in the house! I mean really??? There were sooo many times where I just wanted to smack Alex and Rocky. Of course in movies like this, they fundamentally have to make stupid decisions because if they didn’t then there wouldn’t be a movie, but sometimes it’s so stupid that I can’t even imagine thinking that way.
Overall, I really liked Don’t Breathe, I quite enjoyed myself and I definitely think the movie is something to experience. Make sure it’s loud and dark. I thought all the actors did well in their respective roles and I didn’t dislike any of the characters. I thought the direction was really cool and helped feed into the tension and anticipation the movie creates in the beginning. The music really helps build the atmosphere and the tension is built up very well. The first half of the story is also very interesting as it’s a simple story. However, there are negatives. The character motivations aren’t very clear, at least not all around, the characters make really dumb decisions that are so dumb, they’re dumb by scary movie dumb standards and this movie is handled a bit better than a typical scary story. The other half the story and the twist I thought was really odd and almost a bit out of place in the film. I just didn’t like it. I got it, but I didn’t like it. But I liked the movie as a whole.
Rating: 4.15 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Don’t Breathe? What did you think about it? Do you like suspense and thriller movies?
What is your favorite??
Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more reviews!
Thanks for reading!
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