Don't Breathe movie full length review - An Excellent Thriller With a Complex Plot Line and Morally Gray Characters. I Was Blown Away by Don't Breathe
Don't Breathe was one of those movies that I wasn't terribly interested in when I first heard about it. I then saw the trailer and the promotional material and I was a little more interested.
It has a pretty cool setup and although the actors aren't big name stars (the only two I recognized were Stephen Lang and Jane Levy), the word-of-mouth around it was impressive. With it toppling Suicide Squad this weekend, I decided to check it out with a friend. I was so surprised with it, it's my favourite horror/thriller since Sinister, which is one of my all time favourites in that genre.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) are 3 burglars who work and live in Detroit. They have a pretty good system, they stick to small ticket items, they don't take cash and they get in and out quickly. They have an inside connection, Alex's dad works at a home security company and Alex is able to steal information from his dad's office to get keys and extra info on their targets. They aren't happy though, Rocky is especially miserable, she lives in a dump with her mooch of a mom and her sister who deserves a better life. They're desperate to get out of Detroit and there's a little bit of tension between them because Rocky and Money are involved and Alex is clearly on the outside pining for Rocky.
When Money is liquidating the stash from the most recent job, he gets a tip about another possible job. He's told that in one of the abandoned parts of Detroit, there's a lonely old man who is sitting on a about 300k from a settlement over his daughter being killed in a car accident. Rocky and Money are immediately in but Alex is reluctant. One of the reasons they go small ticket items and avoid cash is that any higher than 10 grand, it becomes more serious and the heat is worse. He backs out but shortly comes back after Rocky begs him to. They scout out the house, there's no one around and they plan to make their visit that very night.
So this movie was made by the people who remade the Evil Dead series. I liked that movie but I wasn't familiar with the older series so I didn't end up being as attached to it as some people did. This movie was really impressive from so many angles. I'll start with how well shot and how visually impressive this movie was. Being filmed in a confined space, this movie really could have been procedural and just run of the mill. The camera is always taking in new and interesting angles and the action was pretty well shot. It helps ratchet up the tension and helps create the illusion that the house is a maze that there is no escape from and they're being stalked by someone who knows the layout better than they ever could. It's a pretty terrifying thought and because of how much extra effort that was put in, the plot sells completely.
Another thing that this movie does so well that other movies fail at is that they play with the idea of who the hero and the villain is. You'll find yourself switching sides throughout the movie, I did a few times. Nobody is the hero here (Alex is the closest you get and even he's not completely good) and all the characters have twisted and selfish motivations. I prefer main characters who aren't saints, they're easier to identify with that way. It can be hard to do that but this movie strikes that balance and I enjoyed it that much more for it.
Don't Breathe doesn't have too many actors/actresses in it, the story mainly centres around 4 people, the 3 burglars and the old man. They are all excellent. I haven't seen Jane Levy since the Evil Dead movie but she was great. It wasn't always easy to like her character but her performance was always good. Dylan Minnette worked well as the conscience of the group and despite the fact his character was a jerk Daniel Zovatto was still likable as Money. I think the real standout was Stephen Lang, there were a lot of layers to his character and he's given a really deep backstory. With that in mind and his committed performance, he steals the movie.
I'd like to add a small note here, this movie gets pretty dark. The plot goes through some twists and turns and it gets more and more bleak. I don't want to spoil anything but there's a point in the movie where it gets kind of squeamish and while it didn't bother me because it just raised the stakes that much more, it could be hard to take for some people.
I'm so happy that I went and saw this movie. It was really intense, it was pretty terrifying and it went through plenty twists and turns. It kept you guessing till the end which is also extraordinary because they give you a glimpse of the ending at the beginning. I wasn't expecting too much from Don't Breathe and I got so much more. As much as I liked Suicide Squad, I'm happy that a movie that was this good is going to knock it off the top. If you like tense horror/thrillers GO SEE THIS MOVIE.