Don’t Breathe is the exact opposite of Evil Dead (2013). Rather than make another blood soaked supernatural remake, director Fede Álvarez reunited with producer Sam Raimi to make a more realistic low budget original horror film. Like most modern horror movies, it was the concept that drew me in. Don’t Breathe is a reverse home invasion flick that gives the antagonist the limitation of being blind. Except that “The Blind Man” is more capable than he appears.
The naturally muscular Stephen Lang is intimidating as Norman Nordstrom, but slightly sympathetic as a blinded war veteran who ends up the target of calculating thieves. Evil Dead actress Jane Levy is final girl Rocky who wants to leave her abusive household, Goosebumps actor Dylan Minnette is the more virtuous Alex, and It Follows actor Daniel Zovatto is the obnoxious Money. Don’t Breathe is like a spiritual successor to It Follows since both take place in Detroit and make effective use of atmosphere.
The house is a terrifying labyrinth that gives Nordstrom a distinct advantage. Sequences like Rocky and Alex wandering a pitch black basement are a major highlight. Just as scary is the vicious Rottweiler that protects Nordstrom when he isn’t around. Although Don’t Breathe is only an hour and 28 minutes, it features an early twist that makes Nordstrom even more complex. I already didn’t like his nihilistic worldview, but what he plans to do to Rocky gets really disgusting. Everytime you think she got away, “The Blind Man” keeps gaining the upper hand. Don’t Breathe will leave you holding your breath.
Followed by: Don’t Breathe 2