Don’t Breathe: A hair-raising ride

Published: September 7, 2016
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It’s this fresh take, the blend of trepidation and unpredictability that makes this movie a ‘breath’ of fresh air, pun intended.

Imagine the stuff nightmares are made of, put it on reel, and you’ll have a film that’s packed with fright and sheer shock value. Don’t Breathe is exactly that!

It is an American horror film directed by Fede Alvarez. The story line is built around a home invasion that goes haphazard.

Fede Alvarez brings forth the right balance of old school horrors and thrillers for fans of both genres, making it a gratifying experience overall. It’s this fresh take, blend of trepidation, and unpredictability that makes this movie a ‘breath’ of fresh air (pun intended).

Jane Levy, Daniel Zovatto and Dylan Minnette
Photo: IMDb

The premise of the movie revolves around a trio of Detroit crooks named Rocky (Jane Levy), Money (Daniel Zovatto) and Alex (Dylan Minnette) – delinquents who earn their living by looting and breaking into houses. During the course of the movie they decide to break into the house of a blind man who happens to be a war veteran, Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang).

Stephen Lang and Dylan Minnette
Photo: IMDb

Assuming that the owner’s visual impairment would work in their favour, the trio enters his house not knowing that they are in for an encounter that they won’t come out of unscathed.

The three of them are unaware that the blind man (who lost his vision in combat) has honed his other senses and knows his house like the back of his hand.

Jane Levy
Photo: IMDb

The audience will flinch and gasp over how relentless and merciless Norman is when he unleashes his wrath upon these three intruders. The concept is fresh, jaw-dropping and outright scary.

Stephen Lang
Photo: IMDb

Don’t Breathe treads on a new path when it comes to your garden-variety horror-thriller movie. Just when you think you have the plot figured out, the director Fede Alvarez turns and twists it, which leaves the audience baffled.

Stephen Lang and Daniel Zovatto
Photo: IMDb

Within 88 minutes of the movie, the director manages to provide the audience with a visceral experience which is rich with gruesome instances as well. The scenes shot in low light serve as an apt representation of what it would actually be like to find oneself in such a strange situation.

I felt the best performance was by Stephen Lang. At first, the audiences’ sympathy lies with him, since the assailants barge into Lang’s house to loot him. But as the movie progresses, the audience will find their sympathies edging towards the burglars for meeting such an ill-fate at the hands of the barbaric house-owner.

Stephen Lang and Dylan Minnette
Photo: IMDb

Don’t breathe finds its place naturally amongst other movies within the same genre. Imagine spliced movies like Panic Room (2002) and Psycho (1960) and multiply the tension, the panic and the brutality several times over. The final product you’ll get is the narrative of Don’t Breathe.

Stephen Lang and Daniel Zovatto
Photo: IMDb

Alvarez hasn’t necessarily reinvented the genre, but he does succeed in keeping the audience heavily engrossed in the movie’s protagonist (more like the antagonist).

Stephen Lang
Photo: IMDb

Don’t Breathe is a hair-raising ride. Anyone who watches it and brands it as another run-of-the-mill flick devoid of any genuine scares will be committing a sin according to me.

Salman Junejo

Salman Junejo

The author is an agriculturist by profession and runs an agriculture company by the name of GRJ AGRO(www,grjagro.com). He has a family background in politics and agriculture. He tweets @salmanjunejo (twitter.com/salmanjunejo)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.