'Don't Breathe' is brought to us by 'Evil Dead' reboot director, Fede Alvarez. Some may recall that I put that particular reboot among my Screening Suggestions, so needless to say, I was already a fan of this relative newcomer. This was his next big title, and I gotta say, it was pretty solid.
The story centers on three young thieves; Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette), and Money (Daniel Zovatto). The trio makes their way by burglarizing neighborhood houses, secured by Alex's father's company, and selling the stolen goods.
So as to portray these people as "not all bad", we are shown that Rocky lives with an abusive mother and her alcoholic boyfriend. She has a tight bond with her little sister, Diddy (Emma Bercovici), and makes a deal with her to move to California, and escape their situation. However, when a deal goes raw, Rocky doesn't get the money she needs to help her and her sister out.
Money gets a tip that there's a Special Forces veteran's house worth the risk, for $300k. The catch is that they decide to do the job while this man's still at home, due to him being blind. The man is portrayed by Stephen Lang, who most would probably remember as that hard-ass Colonel from 'Avatar', and he actually gives a hell of a performance here. There is something about his delivery that's just downright disturbing, and he proves his range can extend beyond that of Colonel Miles Quaritch.
The film offers a twist perspective on the Home Invasion subgenre of horror that hosts such titles as 'The Purge', 'Panic Room' and 'The Strangers'. It was never necessarily a thing I got into, because it all felt essentially the same. This movie, however, twists it around, making the heroes of the story the home invaders, and making the guy defending his house the bad guy - and oh yes, he defends his house relentlessly, shooting at anything he hears, hence the title 'Don't Breathe'.
The other thing to really hand to this film is that it's overall kinda realistic. The real horror here comes from what seems to be a political statement about gun control, and the fact that everyone seems to need to have a firearm under their pillow. This manages to show the dangers of allowing firearms to be in the hands an individual who is clearly unstable. And the fact that Rocky's trying to escape a Hellish household situation as well as rescue her sister allows us some major leeway to see that this is something she feels she needs to do. It's not just a thrill for her, and she's far less disposable because of that.
I have to say that I was impressed, overall. It didn't entirely "wow" me, but it has enough going for it with its simple twist of an idea, likable characters, a rather creepy villain and its overall intensity, that I can recommend this to anyone looking for a recent, decent thriller. I quite enjoyed it, for myself.