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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Guest Blog #4 - A review of Don't Breathe by Salome G.

Welcome to the fourth of the guest blog slots for 5D. This particular piece comes from Salome G from the very excellent website, which began as in 2000 (yep, wrestling!) and stayed as an active wrestling forum for the majority of its time. In 2015 the powers at be the site rebranded the site to two separate sites; TalkWhateverOnline and CultofWhaterver in order to embrace more of the cult entertainment shows its members were enjoying rather than just focusing on one area. These two sites both still have their own identity. They're great sites so check them out!

If you would like to be a guest blogger for me then you can contact me through my website at

Review: Don't Breathe
By: Salome G of

Fede Álvarez's Don't Breathe would seem almost quaint were it not, you know, for all the murdering. It's an R-rated horror movie that's not a remake or a reboot or a re-anything, which is refreshing in these recycled times.

Set in the modern ruins of Detroit, the movie focuses on Rocky (Jane Levy), who burglarizes homes along with her boyfriend Money (Daniel Zovatto) and friend Alex (Dylan Minnette). Alex's dad works for a security company (the cleverly named Liminal Home Security), so that's how they get in, and they follow a code. Take electronics and other small valuables and get out quickly. As you might surmise, small change jobs like that get you...well, small change. When Money complains to their fence about the small return they get, the fence gives him an obvious answer: If you want money, steal money.

And Rocky wants money. She's dreaming about taking her younger sister Diddy (Emma Bercovici) and moving as far as away from their awful mother as possible. Money (the person) hears about what sounds like a too-good-to-be-true score. After losing his daughter in a vehicular accident, a local man (Stephen Lang) had received a reported six-figure settlement--the streets say it's $efrom the young driver's rich parents. The word on the street is that he keeps it all in his house, which happens to be the only occupied house in the neighborhood. While scoping out the house, the trio discovers that the man is blind, causing Rocky to have a momentary crisis of conscience. "Just because he's blind don't mean he's a saint, bro," says Money in what is probably the smartest thing he's ever said. After some hesitation from Alex and then subsequent pleading from Rocky, the group decides to go ahead with what seems like an easy enough job. If you've seen heist movies where someone just needs one last score, you've probably got a pretty good idea about how everything is going to shake out.

And somehow, it's even worse. Their series of unfortunate events begins when they decide to burglarize the home while the Blind Man (as he's listed in the credits) is there (because he hardly ever leaves) and immediately continues when they put Money in charge of gassing his room with some kind of sleepytime concoction. As Money is about as sharp as a sack of wet mice--an earlier burglary scene depicted him...leaving a DNA sample at the house--whatever's in that bottle doesn't take. The Blind Man is up and at 'em within a few minutes, and then the real trouble begins. He's not some feeble, helpless old man; rather, he's a trained killer who has one hell of a secret in his basement.

He quickly discovers someone in his house--Money--and dispatches him just as soon. He's unaware of Rocky and Alex until he is and thus begins a cat-and-mouse game throughout nearly every square foot of the house, including the ductwork. There is a stunner of a sequence in the basement that takes place in near complete dark. Once the chase is on, so is the tension, which doesn't let up until the credits roll. This movie eschews easy jump scares in lieu of playing pinochle on your nerve endings. There are moments of respite, but there's still an underlying dread and anxiety throughout the movie. You're never quite sure if anyone is going to get away with what they've done or even just get away.

And unlike lesser horror flicks that pile up bodies like they're firewood, this movie takes death seriously. I wish I could say the same about something else that takes place in a later scene that's just vile. That scene may not have been intended for pure puerile shock value, but that's how it plays. It is a glaring misstep in an otherwise fine movie. Other criticisms I have are much milder, including that the movie seems to get confused about just how able the Blind Man is. He can walk past Rocky or Alex clinging to a wall and never notice their presence, but then he's also able to sniff out their shoes.

These are minor quibbles, though, about a film that's much better than it should be.

8/10 - It's packed full of tropes and at heart is another horror movie about kids trying to escape a scary house, but the story is so engrossing and sure-footed that you don't think about that until hours later. You know, when your heartbeat finally slows to normal.

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