Saturday, 3 September 2016

Don't Breathe--Horror movie review!

Don’t Breathe

"It’s sick, terrifying, brutal and totally engaging. It punches you in the face and keeps on punching until your left dazed and confused—but in a good way" James WF Roberts, Red Wolf Press. 

4 out of 5.
Review by James WF Roberts

Sometimes the best way to see a horror movie, is in a dark cinema, surrounded by ohhs, and ahhs and ‘oh shit, ‘that scared the shit out of me’. Looking around at the people hiding behind their popcorn, jumping having that pop-corn strewn all over the sticky, chewing gum, bubble-gum, ice cream, soft drink stained carpet. There’s a spectacle about seeing a horror movie at the cinema, a spectacle that in our post-broadcast, private streaming world, we hardly get to experience anymore. There’s that anticipation of the all important first-jump scare.  That out of left-field moment, when we all jump out of our seats, scream and look away, then nervously laugh and admonish ourselves for acting so childishly in public. I didn’t look up this film on the web, didn’t look at any trailers, didn’t do any research at all. I saw the poster, that was enough to draw me in.  The title also drew me in , ‘Don’t Breathe’ well that actually didn’t draw me in as to make me furious, been working on an a spoken word erotica piece called ‘don’t breathe’ for sometime now….thanks Hollywood there goes that idea.
First thing’s first about this film. This is not a ‘found-OMFG-AM SO over found-footage-crap already’; this is not a film done with handy-cams, and jerky movements because we have no budget and we have to go for that edgy-indie film school verisimilitude. In fact it doesn’t even feel like a horror film. It doesn’t have that very in thing of setting up the usual suspects of characters, slutty girl, dim-witted blokey/jock character (that I secretly enjoy watching being mutilated in all the teenage slasher films—pay back time bitches!), the whimpy nerdy guy who dies too early, the virgin/sage young woman, none of these troupes are on display here. Instead you get an inventive, punchy, un-distracted simple, but effective ‘horror in a house’ rollercoaster that is well paced, controlled and doesn’t let up once the action really begins.

The plot is basically, Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex and Money are three Detroit thieves who get their kicks by breaking into the houses of wealthy people. Money gets word about a blind veteran who won a major cash settlement following the death of his only child. Figuring he's an easy target, the trio invades the man's secluded home in an abandoned neighbourhood. Finding themselves trapped inside, the young intruders must fight for their lives after making a shocking discovery about their supposedly helpless victim.

There were some problems in the plot and in the story, some minor dumbarse things that everyone does in a horror movie, it wasn’t the case of summoning the devil by playing with the Ouija board, or digging up an Indian grave-yard, there are just some naff things that these characters who are supposed to be thieves constantly do, talking about DNA residue after we see one of them walking around a house they break into at the start of the film, urinating, kind of defeats the purpose of being discreet. What works in this film is the pre-house build-up. The exposition of Rocky’s cruel and miserable life with her mother and her sister and the mother’s new boyfriend.  Though some of the dialogue about their plans of escaping to the California seemed a bit clunky at times, the dialogue and the backstory for the most part seemed quite realistic. I think the strengths and the weaknesses of the film are the same beast—that double-edge sword, the realism of the protagonist’s and antagonist’s back story and current situation is what puts the meat on the bone of this story, but it does dither a couple of times almost becoming a farce.

But, I am not going to get into minor plot mechanics that annoyed me. There’s something in every film that bugs the shit out of me.

There is some really, really sick and twisted shit going on in this film, that is almost out of place, but then it pulls back and snaps and you’re like ‘oh shit!’. There are a couple of really, really brilliantly executed fake-outs that took everybody by surprize, especially when you feel quite sad for one of the characters towards the end of the film. There’s a brutal and disturbing twist at the three-quarter mark of the film, which I will not spoil, but there’s a recoil and moan in the audience when a particular instrument is shown sitting, waiting to be used.
I recommend this movie for fans of horror, fans of thrillers and for people who want to get a movie done right. But don’t just take my word for it.

I give this film 4 out of 5. While not perfect it’s better than most horror films, I’ve seen for a very, very long time. It’s sick, terrifying, brutal and totally engaging. It punches you in the face and keeps on punching until your left dazed and confused—but in a good way.

My one hope with this film is that it is a standalone film and not the beginning of a franchise or a series-as I think it would ruin the whole concept of this film if there was a sequel.

Don't Breathe has received positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 87%, based on 120 reviews, with an average rating of 
7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Don't Breathe smartly twists its sturdy premise to offer a satisfyingly tense, chilling addition to the home invasion genre that's all the more effective for its simplicity."

On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 71 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.

Dennis Harvey of Variety called Don't Breathe "a muscular exercise in brutal, relentless peril that should please genre fans."Jim Vejvoda of IGN awarded 8.8/10 and wrote, "Director Fede Alvarez delivers a lean, very mean thrill ride with Don't Breathe, tapping into several primal human fears and further establishing himself as one of the genre filmmakers to keep an eye on in the years ahead.

"Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 3 out 4 stars, writing: "This is some weird, twisted shit. Don't groan when I say Don't Breathe is a home-invasion thriller. Director Fede Alvarez is as good as it gets when it comes to playing with things that go bump in the night." 

Steve Pulaski of Influx Magazine gave the film a B grade and stated, "Don't Breathe is as taut as it is twisted, suspenseful as it is sick, and nerve-wracking as it is nasty. It's the first horror film of the year that I've seen that doesn't rely on cheap jump-scares, and when it does, actually gives you a reason to jump." 

Kyle Smith of the New York Post also gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, saying, "Apart from its thin characters and occasional trite moments, as well as a silly attempt to set up a sequel, Don't Breathe is just about perfect." Amy Nicholson of MTV wrote in a positive review, "Alvarez knows the size of his ambitions. He's written one great ghoul, surrounded him with targets, and simply let him let rip.

Sources IMDB and Wikipedia and youtube. 

No comments:

Post a Comment