Review: Don’t Breathe

Don’t Breathe is a “powerfully suspenseful and visceral” thriller that thrusts its unknown cast into a twisted world of shock and horror.

Uruguay-born co-writer, co-producer and director Fede Alvarez’s non-supernatural follow-up to his 2013 remake of Evil Dead comes with far less baggage, and proves powerfully suspenseful and visceral, primarily as a result of its scary simplicity.

After all, this is really only about four characters in a series of rooms in one major location, and its claustrophobic intensity has already uneased some audiences who were apparently expecting something softer and sillier.

Surprise! A trio of early-20s types in rundown Detroit (a site of existential angst in films like Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive) are adept at burglaries, as one, the slightly spineless Alex (Dylan Minnette), has an unseen (and conveniently dim) Dad with connections to a security firm.

Alex is not-so-secretly in love with troubled co-crook Rocky (Jane Levy, also in the new Evil Dead), and when the cocky Money (Daniel Zovatto) decides to hit the home of a reportedly rich and blind ex-serviceman, Alex only agrees to go through with it because he fears for Rocky’s safety.

As well he might too, as alarm bells should have gone off here for even the hyper Money, and yet, nevertheless, the three quietly descend upon the property one night at 2am and find themselves at the mercy of a drooling guard dog, the unnamed resident himself (Stephen Lang) and a series of twists and secrets.

Um… spoilers? A tough movie to talk about without giving the grisly game away, this offers strong playing from a non-name cast and some genuinely shocking moments, even though it does go a little overboard with one seriously nasty touch towards the end. And yet there’s no point getting too offended, as, after all, what were you expecting? Subtlety? Sweetness? Come on, haven’t you ever seen a horror movie before?

Don’t Breathe is in cinemas now. Rated MA

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