Here comes Little Kevin, all grown up and blinded.
“Don’t Breathe” had a concept that appealed to me. Three Detroit teens are systematically robbing houses of goods to pawn with the aim of getting Rocky (Jane “Evil Dead” Levy) out of the clutches of her deadbeat family to start a new life in California with her younger sister. Dylan Minnette plays the cautious and intellectual Alex, hiding his crush on Rocky particularly badly. Daniel Zovatto plays the fruit-loopy stoner ‘Money’ – the loose cannon of the trio and Rocky’s boyfriend.
After a successful run, they unwisely pick on the home of a blind war veteran (“Avatar”‘s Stephen Lang). He is not just ‘Home Alone’ but ‘Neighbourhood Alone’ (reflecting, probably accurately, the demise of previously affluent suburbs in some industrially declining US cities). Blind or not, the vet (and friend) are a force to be reckoned with: with startling speed the tables are turned and the kids are fighting for their lives. And there are more surprises in store within the spooky old house.
As an audience member, there are certainly points at which the title becomes uncomfortably literal! On the tensionometer, there is a similarity here with last year’s “No Escape”. A scene where blindness is turned into a positive asset is particularly effective.
As is common with this genre, the film suffers from a plot-line that at times makes no sense and involves indestructible participants (with an incident involving garden shears being particularly incomprehensible).
A particularly unpleasant sexual-threat scene towards the end of the film is also nonsensical involving a level of -ahem – ‘preparation’ that the preceding plot simply doesn’t merit.
Inevitably though, the film lives or dies on whether you feel empathy for the disreputable kids in peril. The start of the film tries to balance the empathy scales by giving Rocky her backstory, throwing in the ‘little sister’ card. It also demonstrates that “The Blind Man” is a ‘bit of a bastard’ – or perhaps that should be a ‘bit of a baste-ard’ (LOL, in-joke)). Unfortunately however I hold the peculiarly unfashionable idea that if things are “mine” they are “mine” – not anyone elses: so, on balance, I wasn’t rooting for them and would be happy to let the thieving little sh*ts all get beaten to death!
Jane Levy (channelling a young Emma Stone) acquits herself admirably as the heroine in peril. Also of particular note is the highly effective atonal score by Roque Baños that ramps up the tension extremely effectively. Directed by “Evil Dead” director, Uruguayan Fede Alverez, the film does have a certain style and is an enjoyable roller-coaster ride, provided you park your brain at the (well locked) door.
Fad Rating: FFF.
Seen the film and want to feedback? Please comment below!
(Note: this is a film best served cold…. I’m attaching the trailer below, but recommend you don’t watch it before seeing the film).