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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.