Home invasion films…blah! Been there, done that. That is what you might think going in, but Don’t Breathe by director Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead – 2013) will make a believer out of you. It is different and filled with tension. Interesting little tweaks to the typical film of this sort have been made to separate it from the rest and keep the viewer on edge. It is dark, has some twists and eerie.
Rocky (Jane Levy – from television’s Suburgatory) is a young single mother who lives with her young daughter and her mom. Her mom is a wreck and Rocky wants to get out of there as quick as she can. In order to do so she and two of her friends, Alex (Dylan Minnette – Prisoners, Goosebumps) and Money (Daniel Zovatto – from television’s Fear the Walking Dead), plan a heist at the house of recluse who was awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars when his daughter was killed. It seems like easy pickings for these seasoned thieves. But things do not go smoothly.
Turns out the man (Stephen Lang – Avatar, Public Enemies) is blind, but is also a former military man. Trained and knows the inside of his house like the back of his own hand. The tables on turned on the would be thieves and they become the hunted rather than the hunters. Now it is not a question of getting out of the house with the money, but with their lives.
The action is pretty much non-stop from the time the blind man realizes there are people in his house. Alvarez makes each scene wrought with tension. He has relied on visuals rather than dialogue to tell the story. A wise choice and the cinematography is up to the task with its grey tones and moodiness. That is aided by the set or labyrinth like house most of the film takes place in. Claustrophobia sets in and you just want to breathe fresh air and see some light.
Because he is blind there is very little lighting in the house and everything is dark which further ups the knots in your stomach. You are not sure what is going to leap out of where. As a result you spend a lot of the film gripping the arm rests firmly. Thankfully the film is a very lean 88 minutes so you are not living in a state of fear for too long.