Thursday, 8 September 2016

Don't Breathe

Alrighty kids, time for another round of ‘what illogical trope will this horror film throw at us next?’

Is it:

a) The ‘my gun seems to have unlimited bullets’ trope
b) The ‘white people making bad decisions and moving obnoxiously slowly in situations where adrenaline would’ve been a primary motivator’ trope
c) The ‘Creepy antagonist wants to do something sexual to the main female character’ trope
or d) The old ‘love triangle’ chestnut?

If you guessed all of the above, you’re absolutely correct!
If you’ve guessed I’m horror movie fan who is sick of these tropes, you’re batting two for two!
But in all honesty, it’s not the worst horror movie I’ve seen (side-eyes Incubus).

Don’t Breathe starring Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang is a story about a group of teenagers who are desperately attempting to leave behind their dead-end town in the slums of Michigan. In order to do so however, they turn to breaking and entering the houses of the rich to steal items that can be sold on the black market for cash. Things go awry when Money (yeah, that’s actually the character’s name) gets a tip that a house in a deserted neighbourhood is loaded with vast amounts of cash and reasons that if they can pull off this job, they’d never have to steal again. What the group don’t know however is that the house is owned by an army veteran who, after going blind in battle, has learned to use the rest of his senses as compensation. As the group desperately attempt to finish the heist, they begin to realise that they have sorely underestimated just who they’re dealing with.

The pros: Boy does this film have some heavy themes. Be warned: Its not your average jump scare filled horror, some of the subject matter is genuinely disturbing and will freak many people out. The opening scene in and of itself sets you up pretty well for the tone of the film. That being said, if the film was aiming for that, it definitely hit its mark. The jump scares were well timed and not always obvious, and many scenes left me squirming in my seat and covering my eyes as the characters tiptoed through the house. The best performance by far was Lang’s Blind Man, who delivers equal parts disturbing behaviour mixed with an at times eerily calm exterior, and with almost no dialogue at all provided most of the suspense as I saw the paranoia about being heard begin to extend to the audience and overall loop people into the film. 

The cons: As I mentioned at the start of this review, this film uses a lot of cliché’s and not in the cool way that The Conjuring 2 did. The lack of logic displayed by the characters and the unexplained plotholes just starts to become distracting. A lot of the plot points were easy to see coming, and the overacting by some of the characters at the beginning of the film makes scenes with them uncomfortable to watch. Also, there will come a day when I no longer have to critique the pacing of Hollywood films, but unfortunately today is not that day. The first 25 minutes of this film, we are mostly left to watch the characters tragic backstories unfold, mostly that of Levy’s character Rocky. While its understandably used to set up the character arcs for later, it lacked a sense of urgency typical for a horror movie and didn’t match the tone of the rest of the film. As well as this, it really only set up proper motivations for that one character. Also, just to reiterate: This film has a few disturbing scenes and is much more akin to House of Wax (2005) than to other suspense thrillers like Sleeping With the Enemy (1991). If you think you’re going to get a suspense thriller/horror movie, this isn’t really what you’re looking for, however the ending does set us up for a sequel so maybe it'll be different in 'Don't Breathe 2'.

Although the film has some interesting characters and a relatively new premise, this film is basically if Stick from Daredevil was more of a insane psychopath, and with the money I spent for tickets to this film you could by two whole months of Netflix and binge watch that show which uses the same premise in a better way. I’ve seen swiss cheese with less holes in it, and less competent characters use more logic, but if you’re looking for a decent squirm in your seat freak out your significant other type movie, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

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