This film's high rating is more due to its technical prowess than its overall enjoyment. I liked it, but I did not love it.
Overall Rating: 3.8/5
Director: Fede Alvarez
Watch If: You're interested in a new take on the home invasion genre.
Not If: You hate when things drag out.
Similar To: Kristy, Hush
The Bare Bones: A young woman looking for a new life agrees to help her friends rob a reclusive blind man. Things turn from bad to worse as they realize that they made a fatal mistake.
The best way I can describe the premise of Don't Breath is as an anti-home invasion film. It manages to turn the all too common theme on its head, and I loved that. The story is interesting and compelling, and even gets you to care about the characters. (No small feat for a modern horror genre.) The developments are interesting and original, and all in all I found that incredibly refreshing, In a world that's caked in sequels and remakes, it's nice to see something that comes across as all its own.
That being said, while it does teeter on the line, Don't Breath is a thriller, not a horror.
Most of the film is down with little to no talking, so the fact that the actors, in particular Stephan Lang, were able to convey a full range of simple and complex emotion through expressions is mind blowing to me. When they were supposed to be scared, they looked scared. When they were supposed to be frustrated, they were frustrated. There was more conveyed in this film through facial expressions than most films manage to express with dialogue.
This film managed to convey more emotion through cinematography than most films do with regular dialogue. Not only were several scenes fascinating and enjoyable to watch, but the way light transitions were handled and the amount we can learn about the characters simply through when and how they are filmed in brilliant.
The first third is brilliantly done. It's interesting, engaging, and threatens to swallow you whole. That being said, the last half of the movie is very repetitive. The same cookie cutter mold that forged the beginning is simply repeated add-infinitum, and rather than create a more compelling story, it makes the film feel like it's dragging on. And On. And On. It makes certain developments predictable, and that is a sad flaw in a film that is otherwise clever and original.
This film is heavy on the visuals, and, at some points, that hurts it. Nothing good comes from adding another 45 minutes after the point where your audience thinks it's over. Especially not when you do that four times. On one hand, this style adds to the overall understanding of events, on the other hand, I'm not sure how necessary that is. I feel like the last half of the movie could have been accomplished in about ten minutes.
Otherwise, I enjoyed seeing something original more than I disliked the repetitive nature of the plot.
No Joke, he was brilliant, and managed to be terrifying and detestable while, I felt, still retaining an aspect of his humanity. You didn't have to like him to sympathize with him, and you didn't have to sympathize with him to understand. These are the things I want from an antagonist. And whether it is due to the writing, the acting, or any other aspect, his character was amazingly done, and I would probably watch it again just to see him.