Movie Review: Don’t Breathe
Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex and Money are three Detroit thieves who get their kicks by breaking into the houses of wealthy people. Money gets word about a blind veteran who won a major cash settlement following the death of his only child. Figuring he’s an easy target, the trio invades the man’s secluded home in an abandoned neighborhood. Finding themselves trapped inside, the young intruders must fight for their lives after making a shocking discovery about their supposedly helpless victim.
That’s all they’re pretty much is for Don’t Breathe. I won’t give away the discovery, but it didn’t really shock me. In fact at first it confused me. The acting is pretty straight forward and the relationships are nothing extraordinary. The thing is, when I go to a movie that the radio has claimed to be a “modern horror masterpiece,” I expect something with a little brains.
This didn’t really have brains. It wasn’t dumb, it was a perfectly fine and well paced movie, but it seemed like it was missing something. A supernatural angle might’ve helped but it wouldn’t have fit the movie. It just seemed like the psychology of the bad guy was somewhat disconnected from the psychology of the good guys. And that was another thing, there really weren’t any “good guys”.
The movie obviously was trying to make you like the one bland kid in the group, but in the end, they were all crooks, and there’s not much to get behind with that. Speaking of the techniques used, it was a little ridiculous how overtly they did the foreshadowing shot at the beginning of the movie. It was like, “Hey look at me! Look at me! Made you look!”
There really wasn’t a lot of development in the parts of the characters, nothing within them really changed unless it was simply to become even more of what they already were. The back story to the man in the house, was nice, but it kind of just fell there with no compelling details once the ‘shocking discovery’ was made. In the first half of the movie there were glimmers of the characters really brandishing their personalities and maybe evolving, but after a while it was simply who could survive.
A good survival movie is one where, to me, it feels like the characters are actually achieving something or learning something about themselves. The man in the house, as you get from the blurb, blind, which gives the whole movie a bit of a gimmick, but that was kind of it. It was as if the people making the movie decided that the guy being blind was enough of a character trait to make up for everything else. Well, it wasn’t.
The action flowed from one part to the next quite well. And the stakes kept getting pushed further and further upward, kind of. In reality it was just a matter of who would die next. And of course, they put a little twist in the end that, for whatever reason, is supposed to make us think there’s more to it? I just don’t really see it. I compare this movie to other movies such as The Conjuring, Insidious, or The Visit. The Visit may be more of a fairer comparison because it didn’t have supernatural elements in it either.
What The Visit had that Don’t Breathe doesn’t seem to have is character. The movie was very well fleshed out plot wise, but it didn’t have much character. I’ve read elsewhere that when you’re writing you try to write pieces that defy summary. So when the summary of the movie pretty much wraps up the whole thing without leaving much out, then you kind of fail. There were obvious ploys to make us ‘feel’ for the characters, but to me they fell short, such as when the rougher character degrades the protagonist in front of his girlfriend, or the girl wanting to get out of this place has a young daughter in a crappy environment.
But that was it, the characters, including the psycho veteran, were just all they were made out to be. There wasn’t really any particular depth that made you feel like they had much at stake or that they ‘learned’ anything. The only thing you ever really worried about the characters is if they might die, but not much else.
There’s one scene where the male protagonist is in his own home and he’s in essence, betraying his father. We don’t get to see the father, we don’t get to feel anything about this complicated relationship then picture on a computer monitor. I guess it’s supposed to be provocative for us to fill in the blanks?
I suppose for people who really rely on plot and action, the movie won’t disappoint. But there wasn’t even anything particularly shocking or clever about the action in my opinion. The People Under The Stairs had clever props and action, or say a fight sequence from a Jackie Chan movie. This just felt like we were reading something written by someone sitting around thinking, “How can this go worse?”
I’m not inclined to see a sequel, and honestly, I kind of wish I had seen Pete’s Dragon instead. But, what can you do. If you’re interested in heavy action, but not intricate plot with the possibility of being killed all the time then go for this one. Even the most harrowing moment just seemed, disconnected. It was if all the psychology of the movie was disconnected from each other and we were just kind of watching a side show.
Don’t Breathe didn’t make me hold my breath.
Sorry, I just had to.
This review is part of a list of Movie’s Asher’s Seen
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