Truly a visual treat when it comes to the film’s lighting and attractive colour palette, ‘Don’t Breathe’ is the second big-screen outing for director Fede Alvarez after directing the extremely gory: ‘Evil Dead’ remake. As this incredibly tense story makes great use of it’s single location, while simultaneously keeping the viewer engaged with a variety of close-calls and it’s brilliant cast.
Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a elderly blind man. However, the three of them soon discover he may not be as helpless as he first seems.
This simple yet unique plot is surprisingly effective in creating many eerie scenes, as the film uses it’s single location to the best of it’s advantage. Utilizing the tight corridors and dark rooms of: ‘The Blind Man’s house at every opportunity, giving the characters plenty of extremely close encounters with the blind old man. Even holding their breath at points so he can’t hear them breathe, as the title of the film implies.
Stephan Lang of: ‘Avatar’ fame, portrays a character only ever-known as: ‘The Blind Man’, and he does a phenomenal job of it. Giving the audience an almost sympathetic view of the character through his portrayal of him, despite him still being incredibly intimidating and very creepy every-time he is on-screen. The rest of the cast of Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto also do a brilliant job as the young group of thieves, making the audience sympathise with them despite their awful actions and only small amount of characterisation.
The cinematography by Pedro Luque, is decent the film but nothing phenomenal. As aside from the occasional shot, the real visual flair of the film is the beautiful lighting and colour palette as already mentioned, from dirty blues and greens, to bright oranges. Each location and time of day is always given it’s own unique look, sometimes even replicating what the audience is feeling at that point, whether that is fear or relief, depending on what point of the narrative we are.
Roque Baños, same composer as the ‘Evil Dead’ remake returns to work alongside Fede Alvarez, as he creates a memorable horror score. As the original score helps to build-up an eerie atmosphere, and really lends itself well to the personality of the film, which does truly feels like this is a passion project from director Fede Alvarez. As he brought over producer Sam Rami from the ‘Evil Dead’ remake to help fund this small-budget horror/thriller.
When it comes to the run-time, ‘Don’t Breathe’ is actually quite short. As the film doesn’t seem to want to overstay it’s welcome, as many horror flicks can suffer from over doing their concepts (therefore making their ideas less creepy/interesting by the end of the film). Luckily, ‘Don’t Breathe’ avoids this, aside from one short scene near the film, which I feel drags on for slightly too long. As if it would’ve cut-off a few seconds earlier I feel it would’ve been far more effective in regards to the story, but this may just be a personal preference.
In conclusion, I really enjoy: ‘Don’t Breathe’, as this original and extremely tense film is a pleasure to watch everytime it’s on. As aside from my issue with the ending, as well as maybe some more entertaining deaths for the characters, I have very few issues with this one. As Stephen Lang leads a great cast with a mostly simplistic story, which somehow still becomes one of the most memorable horrors/thrillers I’ve seen for a while. A high 8/10 overall from me, I personally am really looking forward to what else this director has up his sleeve, horror or not.