This movie was on my must watch list from the very first preview that I saw in the theaters. “Don’t Breathe” appeared to hit all the check marks for what an amazing horror movie should have: believable story, taut suspense, jump scares, and very good reviews. One review called it “the best American horror movie in the last 20 years” which is a very bold statement and also definitely adds to the anticipation. Each time the preview came on it drew me in and the hype would build a little more. Unfortunately this movie fails to meet the hype that was generated.
The plot is very basic. We follow a trio of young thieves plan to break into an old, blind man’s house to rob him of a massive fortune they believe he has. They have performed many other burglaries without any incidents so how could they go wrong picking a blind man as their next target : all they have to do is drug the man’s dog, bypass the security system, drug the old blind man, find the safe, get the money and get back out. The plan seems foolproof but it does start to fall apart as the old man proves tougher than they thought. He is former military and is not about to just give up his money or his secrets. I won’t spoil any of those secrets that come along as they try to spice up the simplistic story. I will say that while I wasn’t terribly impressed with any of the twists I also wasn’t able to see them coming.
There are not many strengths that I found during the 88 minute run time but there are just a couple. Any time a plot twist can sneak up on me without me predicting it would have to be put into the strength column even if the twist isn’t that great. Another strength is that it breaks away from the cookie cutter type horror movie: there are no ghosts or demons or found footage scenes which seem so popular right now. I would also say that the relatively quick running time should be considered a strength. You don’t have to sit there for 2 hours watching a movie you aren’t enjoying.
Where do I start with the weaknesses in this film? There are so many to choose from. I’ve mentioned the simplistic plot earlier but in addition to that the characters are a major weak point. We have no connection to them, why are we to care who lives and who dies? The film also tries to switch the protaganists and antaganists a few times to keep fresh but it just made me not care about all the characters. The acting is really nothing special from any of them and there are only 4 characters to choose from so not too much variety on that front. The entire movie is poorly lit so it is hard to see what is going on sometimes. But one of the biggest issues with the film is that its supposed to be a horror/suspense movie yet I didn’t find myself on the edge of my seat or even scared one time. Mrs Apologist, who is probably the most easily scared movie viewer I know, was not in suspense for the entire movie and I didn’t see her flinch from any jump scares. I also felt the movie unnecessarily extended the film with added content and forced dramaticism that didn’t add any value to the story.
Overall this movie really let us both down. All the glowing reviews and well made previews built “Don’t Breathe” into a juggernaut with expectations that it just couldn’t meet. A horror movie should be suspenseful, it should be scary. It should not be boring and miss all the marks in both suspense and scares. It leaves a lot to be desired and earned 6 Apologies from me. There are much better choices if you’re looking for a good scary night on the couch or in the theater.
- Movie Apologist