Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Don't Breathe

Directed by Fede Alvarez and written by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, Don’t Breathe is the story of three young people who decide to break into a blind man’s home to steal things and make money off of it only to realize they’re in much bigger trouble. The film is an exploration of what happens when the plan to steal things at one’s home becomes something even more troubling. Starring Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, and Stephen Lang. Don’t Breathe is a gripping and unsettling film from Fede Alvarez.

Set in Detroit in which the city is in ruins making it easier for teens to rob homes, the film revolves around a group of three teenage robbers who get a tip to break into the home of a blind war veteran who is believed to have a substantial amount of money in his house. Getting into the house is the easy part but it’s getting out that would be hard part as the man who owns the home has a bigger secret and can sense any kind of movement, breath, and anything despite being blind forcing these three kids to try and survive. The film’s screenplay by Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues revolves around these three teens as one of them in Rocky (Jane Levy) is eager to get out of Detroit to take her little sister to California away from their alcoholic mother. She seeks the help of her friends Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) to find a house as the latter would get a tip about the home of this blind man (Stephen Lang). Believing the job would be easy, they decide to get in and get out quickly but the blind man isn’t someone who can be easily fooled nor can is he vulnerable. Especially as he’s got something in his basement that is even more valuable than money.

Alvarez’s direction is definitely stylish for the way he would create some intricate tracking shots that would go on for a few minutes in order to establish the geography of the blind man’s home. While the few exterior scenes in the film is shot on location in Detroit, much of it is shot mainly in Hungary for a few exteriors as much of the interiors is shot in a house made as a set. The usage of medium shots and close-ups would play into some of the claustrophobic elements of the film as well as the suspense and horror. Most notably a scene in the basement where it’s completely dark as the teenagers have no idea where they’re at as they can’t see anything which gives the blind man an advantage.

The basement is also the place where the blind man has this secret as it play into his own reclusive persona as well as the sense of loss that he carries. There are some wide shots in the scenes set in the house and in some of the exteriors yet Alvarez prefers to maintain that intimacy that add to the sense of danger as well as creating a mood where the characters have no idea where to go or if they have to move. Even as Alvarez would use hand-held or Steadicams to capture a sense of movement from the perspective of the blind man. All of which reveal what happens when someone decides to rob the wrong house. Overall, Alvarez creates a riveting and eerie film about three teens who rob the house of a blind man only to be trapped in his home.

Cinematographer Pedro Luque does brilliant work with the film’s cinematography with its usage of filters and lighting schemes to help set a mood for many of the film’s interiors as it’s mainly set at night to maintain that sense of dread and terror. Editors Eric L. Beason, Louise Ford, and Gardner Gould do excellent work with the editing as it play into the suspense and horror as it help create moments that are scary as well as building up the terror. Production designer Naaman Marshall, with art directors Adrien Asztalos and Erick Donaldson plus set decorator Zsusza Mihalek, does fantastic work with the look of the house from the way the rooms look as well as the basement and its secret as well as the attention to detail of everything that is in and out of the house. Costume designer Carlos Rosario does nice work with the costumes as it is mainly straightforward to play into something casual for all of the characters to wear

Hair/makeup designer Carla Vicenzino, with special effects makeup designer Ivan Poharnok, does amazing work with the look of the bits of gore in the film as well as the look of the blind man with his dead eyes. Visual effects supervisor Alejandro Damiani does terrific work with some of the film’s minimal visual effects as it’s mainly bit of set dressing for some of the exteriors as well as bits of the interiors. Sound designer Jonathan Miller does superb work with the sound as it play into the tense atmosphere inside the house as well as the things that the blind man has to trigger something in his home. The film’s music by Roque Banos is wonderful for its usage of low-key orchestral music to play into the suspense and horror as well as creating some momentum for the former.

The casting by Rich Delia is marvelous as it feature some small roles from Emma Bercovici as Rocky’s little sister Diddy, Christian Zagia as a black markets dealer in Raul, Katia Bokor as Rocky and Diddy’s alcoholic mother Ginger, Sergej Onopko as Ginger’s boyfriend Trevor, and Franciska Torocsik as a mysterious woman named Cindy. Daniel Zovatto is superb as Money as the most abrasive member of the gang who is eager to break into the home of the blind man as he would put the gang into serious trouble.

Dylan Minnette is fantastic as Alex as the conscience of the gang as someone who is reluctant about breaking into the blind man’s home but knows he needs the money and to help Rocky get out as he also cope with all of the dangers at the house as well as be the one who can signal the alarm in case something goes wrong. Jane Levy is excellent as Rocky as a young woman who is willing to break into the home of the blind man in the hopes to get the money as she’s forced to realize what she’s dealing with and wonder if she’s really made a major mistake. Finally, there’s Stephen Lang in a phenomenal performance as the blind man as it is this eerie performance as a man who uses his sense of smell and hearing to understand who is there as well as provide a reason into the secret he’s protecting as it is one of his great performances.

Don’t Breathe is an incredible film from Fede Alvarez. Featuring a great cast, a minimalist premise, intimate setting, and eerie visuals, the film is definitely a horror film that aims for something simple without the need to embellish anything in order to tell a gripping story. In the end, Don’t Breathe is a sensational film from Fede Alvarez.

Fede Alvarez Films: (Evil Dead (2013 film)) – (The Girl in the Spider’s Web)

© thevoid99 2017


Dell said...

So glad you liked this one. It kept me on the edge of my seat. Fantastic movie!

Brittani Burnham said...

This movie was wonderful I'm glad you liked it too.

Can't look at a turkey baster anymore though. lol

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-It was better than I thought it would be as I was like "oh shit" and kept me engaged throughout. That is what a horror film should do.

@Brittani-Same here. Then again, I don't eat a lot of carved turkey very often.