Robbing the Blind – Don’t Breathe (2016)

Karma.  So this is about three burglars in Detroit.  They’ve got their system down, but they get tempted into breaking it when they find what they believe to be an easy mark: a blind Army veteran (Stephen Lang) who appears to be sitting on at least six figures of physical cash in his home.  Now this has been getting a lot of positive word of mouth.  It seems like whenever there is a decent horror movie that comes out of a film festival like SXSW, genre fans lose their minds.  While Don’t Breathe is no It Follows, it is well made enough that you can see why people are loving it.

2The picked the wrooong house.

Now this is from Fede Alvarez, who is the director of the Evil Dead remake, and I like what he brings to the table here more than his feature film debut effort.  The coolest thing that this movie has going on for it is the sound design; much like the movie Hush, because we are dealing with a character that processes sound differently, it affects the storytelling.  While in Hush it was because the character was a deaf mute, here, because the man is blind, his other senses are heightened a la Daredevil.  It adds to the tension because you know if one of the characters happens to step on the wrong floorboard, this blind man who is brandishing a firearm is going to start recklessly firing in the direction of the sound.  And speaking of guns, whenever a gun goes off in this movie, you feel it in your spine.  The gunshots are purposely made extra loud, and because the situation is otherwise so silent, it resonates in your body.

1Should’ve just left Stephen Lang alone.

Now as I previously implied, there are a few things that are featured here that hold me back from loving this.  I don’t like how they give away the ending to this in the movie’s opening shot, and for me, it really undercut a lot of the tension that could have potentially been built up.  Also, because of this, you never at any point expect for it to work out for any of these kids, not that you necessarily want them to get away with this.  I also never cared about any of these characters; they are all desperate and not very likable, and when you really think about it, if you are rooting for them to successfully rob a blind man, that says something about you as a person.  There are also a few nitpicky things as well that yanked me out of it, like characters crawling through vents which would never support their weight, but that’s just me.  This is more of a thriller than it is a horror film, and it still has enough good qualities about it for me to give it a recommendation.

Don’t Breathe (2016) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire

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