Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) are three Detroit thieves who get their kicks by breaking into the houses of wealthy people. Money gets word about a blind veteran (Stephen Lang) 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 neighborhood. Finding themselves trapped inside, the young intruders must fight for their lives after making a shocking discovery about their supposedly helpless victim.
Horror films have had quite the resurgence this Summer. This has been because of various gimmicks. First we had Lights Out which obviously had to do with light and darkness and now we have Don’t Breathe which has a less obvious gimmick, having to do with not breathing in order to not alert the scary, super blind man. Sure this has been done in other forms countless times but it still has potential here.
The potential victims of the scary, super blind man (Lang) were three thieves who liked to break into rich people’s houses. Their goal was to eventually leave their rough lives in Detroit but in order to do so they had to rob, cue in the scary, super blind man who just happened to sit on a boatload of money. He never got a name since he always was referred to as the blind man. Once they get into his house, he of course is more than they bargained for, otherwise this wouldn’t be much of a horror film anyway.
He definitely handled himself here since being blind had seemingly heightened his other senses. Despite this he was still blind so he wasn’t invincible. The big thing about the film was the not breathing or pretty much not making noise in order to alert the blind man of your presence. This created some tense, suspenseful moments, when the thieves were trying to not alert him. The film represented these in a interesting way as since they were not trying to make noise, these moments were blanketed in complete silence. No suspenseful music, purely silence. The thieves started to feel uneasy and scared as the blind man approached them but this did not feel as suspenseful as it should have been. These did not last forever but actually got better once he finally became aware of them.
While the story started off about the thieves, it then became more about the blind man. The thieves wanted to make a better life for themselves but the only one who seemed to get any development was Rocky. This made it hard to care about the other thieves. As the film went on, we learned more and more about the blind man and his life. We learn about his troubled past and how it affects him today. As we learned more, this added some purpose the character and making his motivations clearer. This added more dimension to the character. The film was more enjoyable once things made sense.
The acting was good here. The blind man had very little dialogue so his scariness came from his imposing presence and sheer physicality. It was simply hard to imagine anyone other than Lang here as he handled both aspects admirably. He is just a scary man in general and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Levy, Minnette, and Zovatto were okay with the last two acting more as support for Levy’s Rocky.
Overall, this was good horror film with some good performances but could have been more suspenseful.