The premise of “Don’t Breathe” is vaguely simple. Three young teenagers – Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) - are so desperate to get out of their crappy life in Detroit, that they decided to opt for small home burglary to earn enough cash to flee. When words whisper out from an abandoned neighbourhood that a blind war veteran (Stephen Lang) who lives there, has recently received a huge sum of money in a settlement following his daughter’s death; the trio comes out of a plan to steal his money for good. But little do they know that the blind man holds supreme advantages over their scheme. The blind man may be sightless, but is closer to being potent with exceptional skills to kill. So the trio’s plan quickly turns into an “out of the house” survivor mission.
While the premise is simple and does not have much effective dialogue to grace through, “Don’t Breathe” relies heavily on the atmosphere set-up, amazing camerawork navigation, well-acted, the clinging musical score by Roque Baños and superb editing to work around decently. Those five key things actually work – because for a great deal of 88 minutes, the phrase “sitting on the edge of the seat” is literally a real deal. The smart screenplay by Alvarez and his scribble partner Rodo Sayagues offers a great amount of flickering suspense and good twists to churn. “Don’t Breathe” is also, certainly not cheap when it offers numerous sickening scenes, although to the contrary of many who expect this horror thriller will ends up with plenty of bloody-torture porn, much to the effectiveness of the dark and mazy setting. One other intriguing element in “Don’t Breathe” is that there are no characters you would root for, and the well-acting of the four leads simply manifests that pretty accurately.
If “Don’t Breathe” plays out that well, it is truly unfortunate, that despite how diverging this horror thriller tries to go away from the standard home invasion thriller, it still resorts to end the third-act with clichés. There are some flawed sections of the story that seem laughable and plausible, but then there are supposed to be fiction, right? Noticed too that there is a storytelling error committed by Alvarez, which is on why the pre-script scene was set-up that way because it either offers zero contribution or it just make the whole story a predictable flashback.
Against all odds, “Don’t Breathe” is one of the best and better horror thrillers we have seen in the recent years, all thanks to the masterclass of suspense and constant cringing on the edge of the seat experience that this movie offers. Rating: B+ (4.0/5.0)