88 min. | R
A home invasion thriller, this film’s economical narrative makes the most of its claustrophobic cinematography. Breakneck pace quickens the viewer’s pulse, although it comes at the expense of character depth and originality.
The film opens in present-day Detroit with a sequence that foreshadows its ending. The answer to how things are going to end is obvious: not well.
Three young adults decide to rob the house of a blind veteran (Stephen Lang, in a near-wordless, terrifyingly gripping performance), who is said to be harboring a fortune that he received in a legal settlement over the wrongful death of his daughter. The three thieves are Rocky (Jane Levy), a young woman who wants to move to California and away from her dead-end life; Money (Daniel Zovatto), a hooligan who commits crimes for the adrenaline high; and Alex (Dylan Minnette), motivated by his puppy-dog attraction to Rocky.
None of them is especially likable. Once inside, the action becomes a nonstop back-and-forth through the multistoried house during which every close escape from the clutches of the blind man leads to another. It’s like a catch-and-release program in which every advance is met with an unforeseen obstruction—that is, until the film’s surprising twist (the invaders should have wondered about all the iron bars on the windows). More methodical than innovative, Don’t Breathe is nevertheless an effective suspenser.