Don't Breathe (2016)
Don't Breathe is another entry into the R rated horror genre, one that seems to be on an upswing, at least financially speaking. Made for only 10 million dollars, and having already grossed over 66 million, this movie is definitely a financial success. If you add in the international box office, it has made about 90 million. Definitely a nice haul for a new R rated horror film, which is good for those of us that like our horror a bit more bloody, dirty or boob filled.
For the few of you that haven't seen the trailer or heard, this movie is about 3 young people in a rough town who decide to rob a blind guy of his money. They figure it would be really easy since he's blind, so they bust in and try to rob him. Needless to say, he may be blind but he is not disabled, so he decides to terrorize them.
Let me get this out right now. I WANTED to like this film, I really did. But there are a few key things in this film that almost guaranteed that I wouldn't. First, we have the three young people who are basically robbing a blind guy. This does not make you sympathize with them in any way, no matter what their back stories are, or their reasons for wanting a blind guy's money. Second, we have the blind guy, who is not exactly a sympathetic character for reasons I will not disclose, since it has to do with some of the deeper plot points and twists. Third, we have the three thieves who, while battling the blind guy, do not use any brains or intelligence at all when trying to figure out how to get out of there. As someone who grew up on Helen Keller jokes, we all know there are multiple ways to fuck with a blind person, the most simple being to rearrange the furniture. Blind people expect things to be in the same place at all times. Move a chair, throw some shit down on the floor. There were so many options that were not taken advantage of it was shocking.
You see, many of the classic horror films have you rooting for both the bad guy AND the good guy(s), like in some of the Nightmare On Elm Street series. While you like Freddy, you also root for the teens fighting him. You also get teens who are smart, able, and have their wits about them. They make plans, try things out, come up with new ones when the old ones don't work. In Don't Breathe the blind guy is not very likable, and the kids are not very bright. Not much to root for in that bunch.
Even if you do get behind one of them, for whatever reason, they never really prove their worth by making smart decisions during the movie. They just keep doing the same stupid shit over and over, without any forethought at all. It makes you feel like they deserve everything they get.
Now, it is not like this film has nothing going for it, in fact, it has multiple positive points. It is shot really well, even in the scenes where it is dark and hard to tell what exactly is going on. They give you the illusion of it being pitch black without making you struggle to see things. This is a huge issue in many other movies, one they avoided completely here. Overall the cinematography is top notch, and I was impressed with it.
The actors were fine, my issues were mostly with the writers and how they wrote the motivations of the characters. But everyone played their parts well, there was no stand out terrible actor ruining this movie. I read that a bunch of them had worked on the Evil Dead remake, so I guess that helped.
There were some surprises in the movie, some plot twists which were interesting, and at times amusing. I was thankful they didn't spoil any of them in the trailers I had seen, so they were actually a surprise to me.
All in all this was a movie I wanted to like, but ended up feeling unsatisfied as I left the theater, never a good feeling when seeing a horror movie. Needless to say, many people did enjoy this movie, for one reason or another, so I might be in the minority in my view.
By the way, I saw this at one of the Dolby Atmos theaters, and boy was I impressed! It was so much better than the 4DX experience I suffered through a few months back. I really want to see other films in this theater, to see if it holds up over multiple films.
6 out of 10 stars.
Location : AMC Empire 25 , theater 8, NYC
Date and time : Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 at 8 PM
Format : DCP in Dolby Atmos
Audience : about 40 people