So last week we talked about “Hell or High Water” and how a talented director took a stale plot or two and with the right writing and cast made it fresh and interesting. This week Fede Alvarez does a similar thing with the horror genre in “Don’t Breathe.”
Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto star as Rocky, Alex and Money — three young punks who go around robbing houses. Alex’s father works for a security company and he “borrows” the old man’s keys to aid them in their crimes.
Alex is the serious one, Money is the crazy one and Rocky is the sympathetic one — she’s only stealing so she can make enough money so she and her little sister can escape life with their abusive mother.
Money learns of a potential hit that’s too good to be true — an old, blind man living alone in a secluded house with a large sum of money he received in a legal settlement. And you know what they say about things that are too good to be true.
The trio show up in the dead of night only to find their only real obstacle is a growling, slobbering dog. They put him to sleep with some drugged meat and break in through the bathroom window — the only window that isn’t barred shut.
They encounter a room with a huge lock on it and assume that’s where they’ll find the cash. In the process of breaking the lock they wake up the old man (Stephen Lang). Although he’s blind, he’s more than willing to fight — and kill — to protect his home, his money — and his secrets.
I’m not much on horror movies but I do enjoy a good one, and “Don’t Breathe” is a good one. Alvarez knows when to crank up the tension and throws in some unexpected and effective twists. While the movie has its violent moments it doesn’t rely heavily on gore. This story is more about fear and terror than blood splatters.
Lang remains silent through most of the film, adding to the character’s creepiness, but when he finally does speak — that’s when the story becomes even more disturbing.
There are a few absurd horror movie moments, but overall “Don’t Breathe” is a brutal, chilling and clever film.