I am one of those who believe that director Fede Alvarez did a fantastic job with the remake of “Evil Dead”. He did not disappoint with his latest film, “Don’t Breathe,” which was presented in a special advanced screening at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival.
Rocky (Jane Levy; also starred in Alvarez’s “Evil Dead”), Alex (Dylan Minette; “Goosbumps”, “Let Me In”) and Money (Daniel Zovatto; “It Follows”, AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead”) are a trio of amateur thieves. They break into homes, steal what they want without tripping any alarms, and exit safely. After Money’s latest tip, they discover that a former war veteran is sitting on $300 000; a compensation he received for a war accident. They also learn, soon before their planned heist, that the targeted victim is blind. Despite any moral conflicts, they decide to proceed. In the midst of the robbery, said man awakens, hearing the commotion they are making, and, after grasping Money, eliminates him with his own firearm. As he drags the lifeless corpse of the trio’s leader while the other two watch in silent horror, the former war veteran hears the floor creak under their feet and now knows that Money was not alone. The home is quickly boarded up and this break-in rapidly turns into a panicked break-out.
If you’re looking for one of the, if not the, most suspenseful, stressful horror films of the year, look no further. Fede Alvarez did a fantastic job at combining intriguing characters, stunning visuals and camera shots, hold-your-breath stretches of silence, and a great storyline with a shocking plot twist. What could you ask more?
Jane Levy, in my opinion, superbly portrayed a terrorized victim of (for lack of a better term) “nature rape” in the first half of the 2013 remake of “Evil Dead”. She looks just as terrified throughout this entire film and makes us believe the fright in her eyes. Stephen Lang (veteran actor who can be seen in, among numerous other things, “Avatar” and “Men Who Stare at Goats”), who portrays “the Blind Man,” also makes us feel deeply for him. Being a man of principle, I actually caught myself rooting for him throughout most of the movie, as I told myself: “I guess those little sh*ts shouldn’t have tried to rob the poor man in the first place and are getting what they deserve.” Despite Rocky’s difficult financial and home situations, I still stood my ground in my own mind in believing that stealing from someone else for your family’s benefit is morally wrong. Alvarez succeeded in dividing the audience for who they will be cheering for.
Numerous online critics, when having seen the trailer, complained that film-makers, nowadays, are running out of ideas and are turning towards “silly” plots where people are running from a blind man. However, with the blind man’s character background, it adds to the credibility of the dangerous aura surrounding him, despite seeming very vulnerable at first. I never knock a film without seeing it, and boy was I glad that this film was presented at Fantasia Festival weeks before it is released across theaters, because it blew me away.
On August 26th, run to theaters if you enjoy heart-stopping stress and see “Don’t Breathe”, as I attribute 4.5 stars out of 5.