Thriller ‘exhales’ from the others

Don’t Breathe is not your typical hack and slash horror/thriller.

  • Sep. 2, 2016 5:00 p.m.

When some enterprising Detroit 20-somethings plan to burgle a blind war veteran, they think they have thought of everything: Drug the dog, drug the man, find the cash, leave.

All these poor kids want is a ticket out so they can move to California where at least the sun is shining.

Once inside the blind man’s house, it becomes apparent that something weird is going on. There are way too many locks on too many doors and clear pathways to a variety of easily accessible weapons.

Once locked inside the blind man’s house, after they realize the drugs haven’t worked, the home invaders become the latest victims of someone with disturbing secrets.

We say, “Your breath is safe, for now.”

TAYLOR: I wasn’t really looking forward to this, but mostly that’s because I’m an idiot and not very good at my job.

I didn’t realize (because I skip most trailers) that it was made by Fede Alvarez, director of the recent remake of Evil Dead, and that it was likely to be awesome. After all, they are similar stories: a few people in a house are going to try to kill each other.

In the Evil Dead movies, the reason is supernatural. In Don’t Breathe, it is not, but it is perhaps equally disturbing.

HOWE: You’re not that bad at this job. The movie itself is very good. It isn’t your everyday hack and slash, bloodbath serial killer type of horror/thriller. It has some very good moments of proper scares, not the ol’ pop-out cheap scares that I hate.

The tension is taut and palpable as soon as they enter the house and then running throughout the rest of the movie.

My only concern is that every time they have a chance to get away and finish the old man off, they never take it. If they had, the film would only be 30 minutes or so long.

TAYLOR: I enjoyed that tension and when the story (and the characters) finally do go down into the cellar (yes, of course there is a cellar), it’s dark and ugly, and even having to look at it makes us uncomfortable.

The things Don’t Breathe reveals to its audience are uncovered well by the characters. I enjoyed the way the situation kept intensifying, although it might have felt, near the end, as it often does in these types of thrillers, that the filmmakers purposely try to go too far. Whatever “too far” might mean to you. Still, I was quite engrossed, healthily revolted without being disgusted.

Don’t Breathe is a very effective movie that ultimately makes you feel icky for liking it.

HOWE: I did find Don’t Breathe an interesting concept, something a little different. The acting is above par for a film of this quality and only having four main characters. In an old rundown house it must have been pretty cheap to make. If you are up for a scare and want a movie with a twisted storyline, then you could do a lot worse than seeing this.

– Taylor gives it 3.5 handcuffs out of 5

– Howe gives it 3.5 turkey basters out of 5

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe review the latest films in their column Reel Reviews every Friday.