After a standard 30 minute opener, in which we are introduced to the movies main characters, Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Daniel Zovatto) and Money (Dylan Minette), three young burglars from Detroit we start to learn of their motivation. Our main protagonist comes in the form of Rocky, whom despite being a burglar, has the best intentions. Her train of thought being if she can find one lucrative house to steal from, she can move to California with younger sister, escaping her horrific family life.
Unfortunately for the trio, the lucrative property belongs to The Blind Man, played by Stephen Lang. Once the characters find out how dangerous the house owner is, it’s of course already too late, trapped behind locked doors and barricaded windows, this is where the movie truly comes to life.As the main bulk of the movie takes place within the confines of the home, it would be easy for cinematographer, Pedro Luque to simply play the claustrophobia card. However, Don’t Breathe manages to create quite the dichotomy. It’s a movie with a sizeable feel, without compromising the perception that our characters are trapped.
The movies greatest tool is tension and lots of it. Don’t Breathe is at it’s strongest with the slow-build and lack of all round audio in the movie, it’s a technique that is rarely used in studio horror, making it extremely effective and refreshing. Where as a jump-scare will shock the audience for a second, an atmosphere of dread will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the runtime.
Much has been made about the movies crescendo, where we see Lang become a true villain through a horrific reveal and brutal behaviour. Don’t Breathe is a movie that is clearly helmed by somebody who not only loves horror, but has truly mastered the art of it.