THERE IS NO ONE TO LIKE
Film Review by Fiore
As a film critic, there are certain signposts that signal a film’s worthiness. For example, if a film is made through the Asylum production studio, you can bank on cheesy effects, a substandard plot and a formulaic tale with an ending worthy of a groan. The same can be said of Ghost House Pictures and Stage 6. So when DON’T BREATHE, the latest thriller to hit the screens opened as a co-production of Stage 6 and Ghost House, I immediately changed my outlook for the film and was not disappointed when it unfolded. Unfortunately, my guests at the screening had no clue what was coming, and did not have an enjoyable evening.
DON’T BREATHE has a plethora of problems, however one of them is not star Steven Lang. Lang holds the film together and his performance as The Blind Man is commendable. Lang, who has been playing bit parts for decades, made a bit of a wave as Increase Mather, the infamous witch hunter and puritan on WGN’s original series SALEM. Lang’s character portrayal was so good, they brought him back in season two, even though he died in season one. You can do that when you’re dealing with the supernatural. He is proving to be the spotlight of the second season as well. So it is probably no great surprise he dominates the screen in DON’T BREATHE. Though he has limited dialogue, his mere presence, and some creative make-up for his eyes, help provide most of the thrills in the film.
Where the film goes south is in the script. Writer and Director Fede Alvarez gives the audience no one to like. It concerns three youths who make a living by robbing houses tied to a certain security outfit. The trio is made up of the nerd, Alex, who has all the security company connections, played by Dylan Minnette; the gangster wannabe, Money, played by Daniel Zovatto; and the tramp love interest, Rocky, played by Jane Levy. The storyline prompts the audience to empathize with Rocky, but she is just not a likable character. Alvarez tries to win over the audience by making her a single mother concerned about her child, and presenting her as the product of an abusive drug slut mom, but none of these social concerns make her any more likeable. Through most of the film you want The Blind Man to kill everyone. By the end of the movie, you would rather all these characters die.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. The cracked window
2. The dog in the car
As I watched DON’T BREATHE I kept thinking of Jason Statham in THE TRANSPORTER. Rule number one – never look in the package. Rule number two – never change the deal. Our pitiful trio have a great system working and then decide to break all their established rules for one possible big score. Their entire plan is so flawed it reeks of stupidity. Who decides to search a house while the owner is in it? Really?
Just when you think you have a handle on this film, Alvarez turns it down another dead end. Each turn proves disastrous. By the time the insemination scene occurs, there is nothing left, save for a few standard jump ploys.
All told, DON’T BREATHE is a decent thriller, but one more worthy of Netflix than a theatre ticket price. It is, however, a great date movie, especially if you’re looking to have someone special clinging on to you for dear life. In that case, it is worth the price of admission, and could make for an interesting evening.
THE GRADE FOR DON’T BREATHE = C