Don't Breathe ~ Review

The new thriller from Evil Dead (2013) director Fede Alvarez, Don’t Breath stands as a testament to what could be done right with a tired genre. Take the home invasion movie. This grim, humorless and often mean-spirited sub-genre gained some traction with The Strangers, The Purge, and Funny Games but many succumb to breaks in logic or absurd pretense. Don’t Breathe cleverly sidesteps most of the pitfalls with a sparingly tight plot, two well matched leads, and stylish cinematography. As she proved in Evil Dead (2013), Jane Levy once again endures the horror with resiliency and stamina in the face of Stephen Lang’s unrelenting blind man. Just who is the victim here anyway? The twists are surprising and the movie delves into some deeply unsavory elements. The tension never lets up and a few startle scares keep you on your toes.

That said, there is a difference between horror and terror. Terror precedes an experience and fills you with dread and anxiety, whereas horror shows you the fright and lets you deal with the aftermath. Don’t Breath is a terror film that keeps you tense for the majority of it’s running time. It’s much more difficult to enjoy that kind of film, especially on repeated viewings, so while its a well-made film, I don’t think it’s one that I would want to see again.

Don’t Breathe is a smart home invasion movie turned on it’s side. While filled with dread, it avoids the more brooding, sadistic nature of these kinds of films with steady action, incredibly stylistic camera work, and a strong cast. It’s not an enjoyable film per se but rather one to endure and geared towards a very niche audience.