Don’t Breathe lives up to its terrifying trailer that promises tons of tension. A young trio specializing in breaking and entering homes via keys provided by one member’s security-guard dad find themselves at the (little) mercy of a blind Gulf War vet (Stephen Lang) who lost his daughter in a car accident caused by a wealthy young woman. Flush with settlement money, the blind man is a perfect mark for Rocky (Jane Levy of Don’t Breathe filmmaker Fede Alvarez’s more-successful-than-not remake of Evil Dead), Alex (Dylan Minnette, Goosebumps) and Money (Daniel Zovatto). However, the trio soon learns their intended victim has some secrets he would prefer did not get out, and he is willing to kill to keep them.
The tension of Don’t Breathe is incredible, starting with the early high of hiding in plain sight from Lang’s blind man as he patrols the house like Jaws and lasting through the umpteenth time he traps one of his would-be robbers. The ick factor surprisingly increases exponentially in one of the movie’s several exceptionally well-revealed—if never wholly unexpected—twists. But Lang is the key ingredient. Mostly known as Avatar’s extraordinary villain Colonel Miles Quaritch, he is absolutely petrifying as the muscular, blind antagonist of Don’t Breathe; his blank eyes in the abject darkness of the basement will haunt you. And he even has franchise potential!
With its social context and Detroit as an urban wasteland, Don’t Breathe achieves the horror-cum-message movie that Wes Craven intended The People Under the Stairs to be. Pair with Netflix’s Hush for a full night of sensory-deprived horror, provided by two of 2016’s best scary movies.
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