Don’t Breathe

MV5BMTg5ODA3MDkyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjU5MzczOTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Often, I am loath to say that you should go into a movie not knowing anything, especially if it is a genre film. Once you warn people not to know anything, it’s a short jump to “there must be a big twist!” and an even shorter jump to “oh, I know what the twist is, sigh.” Luckily, the nature of the one line synopsis of Don’t Breathe and its particular horror genre[1] conspire to make it possible for me to get away with ignoring my own advice.

So, in one two lines: a girl, her thuggish boyfriend, and the nice guy who wants to take her away from all this have formed an intimate crime ring, committing small-time burglaries in and around a Detroit that has not yet gotten the memo that Detroit is being rebuilt. They think they’ve found one last big score, enough to actually take [them] away from all this, in the form of a blind veteran sitting on top of a huge lawsuit settlement; except, this being a horror movie, it is inevitable that something will go wrong. There, that gets you through the first ten minutes and into the meat of the story.

It’s impossible not to think of It Follows[3], and equally impossible not to wonder if Michigan is trying to make itself a horror film production mecca or instead is really frustrated that nobody is taking their attempts to rebuild Detroit seriously, and they keep taking advantage of what urban decay remains, instead. Plus, thinking about things like that acts a pressure valve, because remember the ratcheting tension I mentioned in the footnote? This is one hell of a movie, and you might find yourself in need of occasional relief.

There is a feminist angle to the movie that I wish I could talk about without it being a massive spoiler, but it is, and I can’t. I mean, unless someone were to ask me about it in person or in the comments here, because those are fair game for spoilers.

[1] I quibble with the advertising here, though. This is definitely a thriller type movie way more than horror. Horror movies are a) usually supernatural in nature or at the minimum obsessed with a high body count and b) regularly break tension with jokes or misleads[2]. Thrillers, contrariwise, are allowed to ratchet the tension tighter and tighter with no obligation towards a release before someone (audience or cast, doesn’t often matter which) breaks.
[2] Like the cat in the cabinet. Whew, it was just a cat! You know the one I mean.
[3] Without bothering to compare plots, you should know that while the score for Don’t Breathe isn’t even in the same league, the sound editing is amazing; it won’t get an Oscar nod, but it might deserve one.

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