September 11, 2016

Theatrical Review: Don't Breathe (2016)

"The hype surrounding this movie is mostly real."
(aka It's Cold in Tha D)
Release Date: August 26th.
Country: USA
Rating: R
Written by: Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues.
Directed by: Fede Alvarez.
Starring: Jane Levy, Stephen Lang, Dylan Minette, and Daniel Zovatto.

When unknown Urugayan director Fede Alvarez signed on to direct a remake of the Sam Raimi classic, The Evil Dead, we just knew it was going to suck. I mean, how do you remake such a beloved, gritty Horror movie in this day and age of glossy, over-sanitized shit? Surely just about everything that made the original (and its sequels) so great would be lost in translation, right?

Well, no.

The Evil Dead remake not only didn't suck, but it was surprisingly awesome. What Fede Alvarez did with that movie still has us scratching our heads, because his version of Evil Dead was lean, mean, bloody, and all kinds of compelling. Read our review HERE.

Turns out that his sophomore effort, Don't Breathe, is also lean and mean, and it does the whole Home Invasion thing to near perfection.

Rocky, Money, and Alex are three Detroit hoodrats who make up a burglary crew that rob houses that have security systems installed by Alex's dad. Rocky is hot, and dreams of moving she and her baby sister, Diddy, to California to escape their shitty, Whiskey Tango lives; her boyfriend, Money, is just about as scummy as his street name implies; and Alex is the nice one who loves Rocky, but Money ain't letting him get with his bitch, yo.

When they learn of an old, blind Army Veteran living in a ramshackle house in an all-but-deserted neighborhood (who supposedly has $300k stashed in his house somewhere), they decide to rob him, and use the money to start new lives. Why someone would keep that much money in a house in a bad Detroit neighborhood, and not in a bank, makes no sense to us at all, but what do we know.

They case the joint and break in, only to find the old blind man not quite as feeble and helpless as they had hoped. We don't want to spoil what happens next for you here, but suffice it to say that when an old, blind dude lives alone in a bad neighborhood, you should probably ask yourself why. *Because he's the creepiest dude in the city, that's why.

A botched home invasion ensues.

We really liked Don't Breathe, and I gave it an A grade overall, but I don't want to oversell it too much. The characterization was pretty shallow, and some of the things that those characters did felt to me like plot devices to keep the movie going at times, but overall this is a tight little Thriller that worked on just about every level. It could have been perfect with some tweaking, but it's close enough as is.

It's a short movie, clocking in at about 88 minutes, but because of that short run-time, it never really drags or loses any steam. It's a pretty straight-forward, intense, punch to the gut kind of a movie, and the way that Fede Alvarez pulled it off was pretty impressive. We kind of felt some sympathy for the thieves in this one, although their skeevy asses were robbing a blind dude with a sad life story, so maybe we didn't like them all that much. Then again, we felt bad for the blind guy, being a lonely war veteran who just tragically lost his daughter, being at the mercy of three thieves woo want his money... although about halfway through, everything gets flipped on its ass and we learn that maybe he's not such a nice guy either.

The twisty "Who in the hell are we supposed to be rooting for?" dynamic played with our heads throughout this one, and made for a clever storyline.

Jane Levy rocks. We love that girl, and she was great in this one, even if her hoodrat character was a bit shady and self-serving. It was the ever-awesome Stephen Lang though who stole the show in Don't Breathe. He's been an excellent character actor since the 80's who has seen his star rise in recent years (thanks mostly to Avatar, we imagine), and it's well-deserved. The guy plays scary and intense as well as just about anyone does, and he made for a formidable foe in this one.

The one thing that really irked me about this movie is that a few of the thieves had different chances to escape or get away clean, and didn't. Instead, they have to save someone; or Jane Levy has to taunt the old man instead of running, multiple times, which leads to her not being able to escape...

That kind of plot-device shit drives me insane, and it makes me look at the characters like they're idiots. 

As someone who lives riiiight outside of Detroit, I have to say that the depiction of the city was a bit unfair in this movie. Sure, there are shitty parts of Detroit that look like Beirut after a heavy bombing, but there are also alot of nice neighborhoods too. There's not a state in this country that doesn't have the same kind of blight going on (usually in poor sections of major cities), but every movie I see lately that features Detroit makes it look like the crack of Satan's asshole... and it is, in sections, but man, give it a rest.

Someone posted online, in reference to this movie "Who would actually live in a neighborhood like that?!?" I don't know, dickhead, maybe someone who can't afford to move, even though they'd love nothing more? Some people are born into certain neighborhoods and lack the tools to get themselves out. Even more crazy is that there are some people who love their shitty neighborhoods, and try like hell to make them better. That's a losing battle in some ways, but I have to admire their pluck.

There are lots of good people in The D, and yeah, some of the neighborhoods they live in are downright scary, but it's not all like that.

End rant.

There's definitely some violence throughout this one, but it's that damn turkey baster scene that had us wincing...

Not that kind of flick at all.

Fede Alvarez is for real. Also, whomever came up with names like Money, Diddy, and Rocky for the characters in this movie needs to stop coming up with names for characters in movies. That's really the best they could come up with?

Don't Breathe may not be "the best Horror movie of the last decade" like some critics would have you believe, but it is a really good one, and it's definitely one of the best of 2016. If nothing else, it's a good reason to take a trip to the theater and get some popcorn with extra butter. And Raisinets


Don't Breathe is in theaters now.

Oh, Jane Levy. How we adore thee.


  1. I think that is a pretty fair assessment of the movie. I cannot wait until it drops on VOD and Blu-ray and we get to hear everybody talk about how overrated the movie is. I believe that is the way critically acclaimed horror films work. I think your criticisms were fair and I agree that overall it was a good, intense movie.

    1. Not perfect, but it sure did seemto be perfect in its own little way, you know?

  2. My excitement to see this movie got more intense after reading this. Ugh!

    1. I really loved the hell out of it. Hope you like it when you get the chance to see it.

  3. try watching train to busan. it was released same week with dont breathe and is getting good reviews

    1. Train to Busan is definitely on our list.

  4. seeing it tonight, this made me that much more excited!! yay!!