Fantasia Festival: Don’t Breathe (2016)

The grand finale of the entire Fantasia Film Festival goes to Fede Alvarez’s new movie Don’t Breathe. If you don’t know who he is, he directed the remake of Evil Dead. Much to our surprise, he made it to host the movie as well.

Fantasia Festival

As mentioned in my Twitter post right after, Don’t Breathe was the perfect way to end the festival, at least for my line-up. This year’s movies were all fantastic and many times, breathtaking and full of tension. Don’t Breathe is the cream of the crop.

Don’t Breathe (2016)

Don't Breathe

Director and co-writer: Fede Alvarez

Cast: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Stephen Lang

A group of friends break into the house of a wealthy blind man, thinking they’ll get away with the perfect heist. They’re wrong.-IMDB

Man, could they be more wrong? Obviously they haven’t seen Hush.

Don’t Breathe is the perfect title for this horror thriller. It is a brilliantly horrific story full of shocking twists and turns. Before the movie started, the host of Fantasia called it the perfect way to end because it will have us scared for the next eleven months all the way to next year’s festival. While that isn’t completely true unless you can relate by ever breaking into a blind veteran’s house to rob them (which would be an oddly specific scenario), Don’t Breathe creates a lot of tension in its atmosphere effectively. There a few jump scares but its more the agony of not knowing a territory in the dark. As the audience we see everything even before the characters, that makes us squirm in our seats unsure about what will happen next. At the same time, a lot of merit has to go to the great camera work here. It captures and moves to cause panic but also shows and hides exactly enough to keep it an tense experience.

don't breathe

The first thing right from the start of the movie that we will notice is the emphasis on sound. As everyday people, we don’t always notice the little noises that go on from the things we do to the steps we make to the creaks on the floor. Our characters and surroundings are like that. The movie seems to zero in on the effects from a piece of glass stuck under a shoe making a different effect to the loud rumbles of a car engine. It is because of the heart of the movie being focused on a blind man with these heightened abilities that our senses and the characters also increases. Ours probably before the characters because we would have covered our mouth holding our breath every time the man walks by. Talk about flipping the situation around. They broke in and now they want to break out and survive.

don't breathe

Now that we’ve talked about what happens to the characters a lot, we should talk about them individually. This young burglary team consists of three friends: Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto). They are great friends that grew up together and have stuck together hoping to leave. We never get a glimpse of their backgrounds but its suffice to say that they want out. Rocky and Money more than Alex. While Rocky is the star of the show, she isn’t completely likeable. In fact, she has many flaws except Alex, played incredibly well by Dylan Minnette is the one that we will cheer for. He is the likeable character even if he is the underdog in some ways. He is the loyal friend that sticks around through all of this crazy. However, to say that Jane Levy didn’t do a good job as Rocky would be lying. However, if there was criticism, it would be that our main character is not as well-crafted as she should be. Although, its hard to not bond with her at the end although in many ways, it has to do with a well-written script which constantly thrusts our characters into danger making those small victories mean a lot more when we catch our breath for a split second.

Don't Breathe

The “bad” guy in this one is The Blind Man. We never know his name but he’s wealthy as heck (even if it doesn’t seem that way) and brutal and dangerous. Can we just say how creepy his eyes are, especially in the dark and the way he portrays his motions. The Blind Man is played by Stephen Lang and it was an outstanding job. It emphasizes on the point that being old or losing an ability doesn’t make it weak. In fact, his other senses clearly make up for what he has lost. Don’t Breathe is actually so much more. His character has a story and a pretty shocking one. To discuss more about this would ruin your experience.

Don’t Breathe is a brilliant horror thriller. While the characters may not be all that resounding in majority, you will come out of this remembering the intensity and well-crafted film here. Its full of shocking twists and turns. There’s a lot wrapped up in this thriller and it constantly has something going on that will have you holding your breath. There’s still a few months left in 2016 but this may be one of the front runners. Great job on this one, Fede Alvarez!

*As a side note, just to emphasize how great this movie is. If it is in a theatre near me when it gets released, I’ve already decided to go see it a second time with my husband. That is how much I loved it! Plus, to me, the best horror movies are those that we fear its existence like Lights Out plays on fear of darkness or like believing in supernatural beings makes ghost spirits seem scary. Don’t Breathe is about a situation that won’t likely happen to me and it actually had me genuinely scared and thinking about it even in all its unlikelihood. *

All you lovely readers might also want to know that I’ve decided to add Evil Dead movies to this year’s Halloween marathon and pair it up with something else. I can’t remember what I decided last year.

30 Days of Night: Dark Days (2010)

Back in October last year for Halloween month, I watched 30 Days of Night. You can check out the review HERE if you’d like. In a nutshell, I enjoyed the vampire hunting humans in Alaska during the 30 days in darkness.  It was intense and thrilling and had a good story plus Josh Hartnett and Melissa George was great.  Let me be clear that watching this was just because I felt it would complete whatever I saw before and I wanted to know what happened afterwards, if it was worth it or not. Usually, when a sequel goes straight to video, its not anything great.  Still, lets check it out!

30 days of night dark days posterDirector: Ben Ketai

Cast: Kiele Sanchez, Rhys Coiro, Diora Baird, Harold Parrineau, Mia Kirshner, Troy Ruptash, Ben Cotton

Stella (Kiele Sanchez) is one of the few that survived Barrow’s attacks.  The government covers it up as a gas line leak causing the destruction of the town over the month.  However, she travels the cities trying to find anyone who listens to her, usually at the expense of everyone laughing at the idea of vampires. In one incident where she reveals several vampires in the crowd, she is asked to join a group of people: Paul (Rhys Coiro), Amber (Diora Baird) and Todd (Harold Parrineau) who have suffered losses because of vampire attacks and lead by a vampire resisting the urge of bloodlust called Dane (Ben Cotton). Together, they make plans to attack the vampire nest and murder their leader Lilith (Mia Kirshner) in order to kill them off.

Tsk tsk tsk…stealing scenes from The Descent.  Thats all I could say! 30 Days of Night was so good that it didn’t deserve this stupid sequel.  I’m not saying it should go into Shitfest, well, maybe it could.  I would have my arguments.  This one is 92 minutes, which isn’t long seeing as nowadays a lot of flicks are way longer but I split my viewing over 2 days in 3 sittings.  And, I even added working out into the mix.

30 days of night dark days 2

I’m not complaining over nothing.  Let me justify myself.  Usually, I’m really nice and a lot of you know that because even when I say a movie is good, you all tell me it sucks.  So yes, I try to be nice and I will tell you something positive at the end.  I always find something but I’m in a rambling mood so I’m going to start with the bad.  Lets just start with saying for a vampire horror thriller.  Lets dissect those three words, ok? Vampires were ugly especially when they were shot at, the blood was so fake.  I have admitted over and over again that I’m mega chicken and easily scared and this one was not scary.  They tried to do a few jump scares but you can anticipate it miles away.  And thriller…I’m just going to shake my head and say no.  I don’t think there was much thrill in this.  Seeing as I just said it was predictable and the ending sucked (because it was stupid and so obvious how it would turn out), yeah, I wasn’t thrilled.

Photography by Chris Large

So, okay, not so good right now, eh? Well, the story kind of didn’t really work out either.  I felt a bit lost (maybe its just me) with this whole Lilith deal.  It sure isn’t True Blood’s Lilith, at least then I’d say you get to look at a naked chick covered in blood.  And its kind of crazy because it also makes vampires even more invincible, like even if they get burned by fire to a crisp, as long as their head is still on and you give them blood, they’ll come back to being a vampire. What?!?!? Excuse me, if thats the case, why didn’t vampire rule humans long ago…I mean if these vampires were for real, I sure as hell won’t have the skills to chop off their heads (again, thats probably just me).

30 days of night dark days 1

*takes a deep breath* Okay, I’m a bit calmer now.

With a sequel like this that replaces our main character, Melissa George turned into this girl here called Kiele Sanchez. I’ve seen her in A Perfect Getaway which if you wanted to see her, then I’d say to watch that instead.  Although, in that one, I don’t think she strips down and has sex in the other one, whereas she does in this one.  You know, full on loud moaning.  That was a good sex scene though, haha! Hey, look, there’s your positive 🙂 And I kind of think the dude up there is alright.  He’s one of the better parts of this one.

Overall, its really not a good sequel and boring, not scary, weird story, fake vampires.  Meh, maybe I’m in a bad mood so it sounds even worse but this isn’t really worth your time.

Halloween Marathon: The Caller (2011)

Took me a few days to work up the courage to watch a horror movie by myself.  I ended up starting it and then my boyfriend woke up from my shuffling around opening the lights in my room after a jump scare scene. Yay! Company..haha! I’m building up the intensity of these horror movies.  I’ve been eyeing The Caller for a while.  I’ve never heard of it before I got Netflix and even then, I didn’t even check out what the actual plot was but hey, an unknown horror movie with actors I know: Rachelle Lefevre from Under the Dome and Stephen Moyer from True Blood! Lets check it out!

The Caller posterDirector: Matthew Parkhill

Cast: Rachelle Lefevre, Stephen Moyer, Luis Guzman, Lorna Raver, Ed Quinn

Mary Kee (Rachelle Lefevre) moves into a new apartment after her leaving her controlling husband, Steven (Ed Quinn) and settling the divorce with a restraining order.  As she tries to adapt to her new single life and avoid her ex-husband as he ignores the order, she starts getting calls from a strange woman who keeps asking for a man who doesn’t live there anymore.  The mysterious woman, Rose (Lorna Raver), eventually reveals that she is calling from the past and eventually gets attached to her and when she starts to avoid the calls, all the woman wants is revenge.

the caller rachelle lefevre

The Caller is a mystery horror thriller and a really great one at that! Its starts itself in a eerie and dark tone and has a lot of suspenseful music in the background to complement it.  I had no idea what to expect from it, seeing as I didn’t even know the story.  The premise is pretty clever and creative.  Although, it did somehow pan out to be something like Butterfly Effect.  Thats all I’m going to say about it as its filled with plot twists, thrills, suspense, even a little chills.

the caller stephen rachelle

The characters are focused mostly on Rachelle Lefevre who plays Mary Kee.  I’ve only seen her once before in Under the Dome series.  The reason I chose this was also because I thought she did a great job over there.  I’d have to say she’s pretty convincing in this one.  Mary Kee really tries to brings in and you can see her trying to adapt to life but of course, the unexpected thing happens and things turn bad really quick but still, she tries to keep calm and take care of herself.  As for the other main character, Rose was just a voice on the other side.  Its crazy how a voice can be so sinister and creepy and really send chills up your spine. I later saw that it was portrayed by Lorna Raver. Another instance of properly using the unknown.  Third up, we have Stephen Moyer who plays the guy that Mary Kee starts to date and kind of the only other person who looks out for her. Its one of the bigger roles I’ve seen Stephen Moyer in other than being some random cameo here and there.

the caller questions

As much as the dark scenes sometimes would get on my nerves in the beginning, it really did get on my nerves in a very scary way after a while. It made you feel like there was always someone peeking/stalking/following her everywhere.  It comes with the music, the pace, the camera angle all combined together and it just builds up as the movie goes along. The story itself was a mystery, does it exist, is it a prank? Sure, the story isn’t perfect. Its a very interesting concept that has some parts that don’t completely make sense, but I still think it was a really good horror thriller.

I’d definitely recommend this.  I don’t understand why its not rated well on RT and IMDB but at least, I found that its was a new twist to the normal stuff.  I always enjoy a good thriller and this one is worth your time. Maybe I’m the minority but I’d say to give it a chance! 🙂

The Roommate (2011)

Yay! Cam Gigandet double feature! I was in the mood for some thrilling suspense, even if this really doesn’t look like anything…Honestly, I bought it because it was cheap and there was Leighten Meester and who doesn’t like a bit of Blair (from Gossip Girl)?

the roommate posterDirector: Christian E Christiansen

Cast: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet

Sara (Minka Kelly) just entered in college to fulfill her degree in design.  Being away from home and finally having her freedom, she is paired up with Rebecca (Leighton Meester) as her roommate.  Rebecca is very introverted and likes to keep things to herself.  Sara tries to introduce Rebecca with her group of friends while Rebecca shows her around Los Angeles which is a city that she grew up in. At the same time, Sara starts seeing a guy in school called Stephen (Cam Gigandet) and shortly after, starts dating.  As things start feeling weird around Rebecca, her friends are warning her and especially when Rebecca’s parents seem to be hiding something from her.  She starts sensing that her roommate may be obsessive over her and as things unfold, things start to really get out of hand…

909285 - The Roommate

There really isn’t much about this movie.  Its a predictable and somewhat silly horror thriller. Although we pretty much gather that Rebecca played by Leighton Meester is batshit crazy very soon in the movie (or even before it starts).  This movie was just a promotion for all those CW series.  Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries and 90210 young stars were casted in most of this except for Minka Kelly and Cam Gigandet (I think).  I don’t watch ALL teen series so I don’t know if they are in any.

the roommate rebecca

Leighton Meester was the reason I went ahead to watch this so I’m going to say that she was alright.  Its not her fault that the story was so flawed.  She had some pretty chilling moments as the obsessive and possessive girl who just wanted to be protective over her roommate who she considered her BFF in her own way.  Her emotions were everywhere and pretty psychotic.  But no, it wasn’t all that scary…coming from me, that says quite a bit.

The roommate sara

Minka Kelly’s Sara was ridiculous stupid along with most of the other characters. She didn’t even question when her own friends seemed to distance from her because of her roommate.  Her boyfriend Stephen (played by the cute Cam Gigandet) was a bit silly because after knowing more and whatnot, he still was all cool with everything and not really scared.  Not emoting much here, buddy.  Other than when he was with Sara.  I’m complaining now because nothing really was logical and most of the characters didn’t act with much common sense.  And the level of foreshadowing by the director and screen shots was so much that you knew everything they wanted to do.

the roommate sara stephen

I keep talking about that lack in common sense because really that was what hurt it.  Everyone wasn’t horrible.  At some parts, they were surprising.  Plus, for most of the movie, there really wasn’t much going on.  Although you will be convinced that Rebecca is really crazy.  Not understanding her character works because you aren’t supposed to.  When do you really know what the heck is going on inside the mind of a psycho, right? Anyways, if I start telling you about the problems, especially with how she is allowed to even go to stay at college dorms. Just for starters…

Predictable, not scary and drop your common sense before you watch this and maybe you’ll enjoy it.  I had a few chills from Leighton Meester’s character.  I also swooned a bit at Cam Gigandet’s Stephen cruising Minka Kelly’s Sara.  Other than that, this was a pretty meh movie to me.  But then, I had a feeling this was not a great movie before it started.  Just for the record, I didn’t get this to get scared, so I guess that wasn’t something I factored in…maybe that helps me in seeing something positive in it.