Review: Don’t Breathe (2016)

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dont-breathe-movie-poster

“There is nothing a man cannot do once he accepts the fact that there is no god.”
– The Blind Man

SYNOPSIS: Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8So there was quite a bit of hype surrounding this one. I missed a lot of the hype in my country,  but caught a lot of it online. I decided to give it a look see the other day, and I was pleasantly surprised. As a rule, I am not usually a very big fan of home invasion films. Recently I saw Hush, which was supposed to be excellent because it brought a new spin to the home invasion genre. I liked it okay, but found it quite bland. Don’t Breathe is a different kind of animal.

It has a rather small, limited cast, but this does not detract from the film. Daniel Zovatto might have been the weakest addition to it, but between Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, and Stephen Lang, you are hooked every minute of it. The movie is shot really well, which is something I am starting to expect from Fede Alvarez. It wasn’t overly dark (the images, goodness knows the story got pretty messed up), which is a major flaw in these types of movies, and even when it was totally in the dark, you could see what was going on the whole time. I also thought that the movie maintained really good tension throughout, which is not an easy thing to pull off.

The story is nothing over the top, and the pacing is excellent. You get what you need, when you need it. Don’t Breathe doesn’t rush to blow its payload, but isn’t so slow as to frustrate you. A simple story, sure, but engaging from the off. And I swear, whatever you are thinking when watching this about the door? It doesn’t come close to the twist the movie actually delivers, which is refreshing. And beyond super ick. While the characters are not all likable, they do grow on you, and it doesn’t even take that long. This is definitely a home invasion with a different pattern going for it, and it works. I was really hooked from the off, and the run time is perfect – it never overstays its welcome.

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However, even with all this praise, there were some niggles with it too, and a lot of that has to do with the decisions the characters make and some of the logic that is applied by the characters. Also, the characters are really underdeveloped, and while that is typical for this type of genre, it becomes a bit of an issue when you are supposed to root for the old man, and then the thieves, and back and forth. It’s cool because, for once, there is not one clear, innocent party to root for, but also sucks because knowing more about the characters could have been helpful. Let’s not forget the faulty alarm, multiple gunshots being fired in a neighbourhood and zero interest from the neighbours, or cops.

Don’t Breathe is a well directed little home invasion thriller that is carried by solid performances, an engaging story, and the sheer simplicity of this. I would highly recommend this one, and I can see now why it has so many fans.

I would say skip the trailer and just go in blind (har har), much better experience.

Rapid Review: Evil Dead (2013)

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evil dead 2013 poster

“This thing is attached to Mia’s soul like a leech. If I’m reading this right, it’s become her. If we want to help Mia… we’re gonna have to kill her.”
– Eric

SYNOPSIS: Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival. – via IMDB

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GRADE 7.5This remake was definitely worth the watch, I don’t get why there is so much hate aimed at it. Everything was simply stunning to look at and it was shot very well. There was not really any humour, so the whole comedy horror aspect was dropped, and shifted cleanly into a more demanding and serious role. A group of friends going up to this cabin in the woods to rehabilitate a friend was a decent spin on the plot. There were plenty homages to the original, and is something which was really great because Alvarez refused to let that own the film. The film was intent on having its own thing, and I thought it succeeded. While not “the most terrifying film you will ever experience”, it had its moments of glory, and some frights and thrills. I liked the cabin being the same and Ash’s car chilling out in the front of it. I am a big fan of the effects of this movie, they were amazing and contributed to a lot of what made this work so well. The cast was surprisingly good, and I must give them credit. Lou Taylor Pucci was good, Shiloh Fernandez aced the sad brother and was some yummy eye candy to check out at the very least and Jane Levy was just great as a crazy, withdrawing, possessed lunatic. However, I found Elizabeth Blackmore’s Natalie to be an extremely flat and bland character – completely useless, almost as though she was just there to fill out the required quota of five people heading out to the cabin. This is a pretty good remake – it did not want to be the original, but wanted the story, and I feel that it was executed rather well.

This trailer is actually extremely good!