In Don't Breathe three friends with a history of burglary conspire to rob a blind veteran so that they may use the money they steal to fund a new life for themselves. Things appear to go to plan but the blind veteran isn't as defenseless as they thought, and there is more than just money In that house.
Before the attempted burglary the movie does spend some time with the characters but this isn't applied evenly. Rocky (played by Jane Levy) gets the most development, and Alex (Dylan Minette) benefits from some, but Money (Daniel Zovatto) is left to be the stereotypical gangster character. These characters are saved from appearing shallow by the actors themselves and by their chemistry with each other.
The audience sees the characters pull off a burglary before they attempt to rob the veteran (played by Stephen Lang). This gives us enough of an idea about the personalities of the main characters and how they expect the night to go. Because we know how the night is supposed to go we know when things are going wrong. This serves to raise the sense of tension.
Speaking of tension, we should talk about the movie's villain. He gets very little in the way of dialogue throughout the movie. When he does actually speak this turns out to be for the best. The voice that Stephen Lang choices for the role isn't very scary, and makes him seem less threatening. This isn't helped by the dialogue, which stumbles into the territory of unintentional comedy.
Where Lang's performance excels is in making his character a very physical threat. For most of the movie he stalks the main characters silently. It is appropriate that the blind veteran has a vicious dog (who provides many of the jump scares) because in many ways his behaviour mimics that of his dog. He sniffs his prey out, and listens to the sounds around him to help him locate them. In contrast to more stoic characters we have seen in similar scenarios there is something of a wild animal about Stephen Lang's portrayal.
Those coming to the movie expecting a lot of twists and turns will be disappointed. There are a couple of twists but the main focus with the movie is in exploring the atmosphere than trying to surprise you with a complex plot. What twists we do have however do really help with exploring the nature of one of the key characters. Without spoiling what they discover a certain discovery, and the way that Rocky reacts to it, offer up reflection on what drives Rocky, and how far she is willing to go to get what she wants. The component parts of this reveal are not unique but they are brought together in a way that gives a little bit of added dimension to the movie.
Breathe has a tense atmosphere with a good pay off. Stephen Lang is a mincing presence
and we root to see Rocky and her friends survive. Don't Breathe is good for a
fun night out.
BREATHE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: FEDE ALVAREZ / SCREENPLAY: FEDE ALVAREZ, RODO SAYAGUES /
STARRING: JANE LEVY, STEPHEN LANG, DYLAN MINETTE, DANIEL ZOVATTO / RELEASE DATE: