Posted on September 15, 2016
This is an interesting entry in the cul-de-sac of modern horror that has to do with home invasions but only because its narrative and characters are so confusingly motivated. In most cases we’re wired to root for the people inside the house against the invaders, but Don’t Breathe tries to take us in a different direction.
How’s this for a bad guy: An aging Iraq war vet who lost his sight during his service overseas and whose daughter back home was killed by a drunk driver. On top of that, the driver’s a girl from a rich family, so he can’t even get justice for her death, he just has to take a big settlement.
And our heroes? Three punks who want to steal his settlement money (because for some reason he keeps it in cash in a safe in his house.)
The movie is written, acted and directed well (Jane Levy does a particularly good job) so I was partially manipulated into rooting for the punks who break into this veteran’s (thanks for your service!) house but I could never fully commit because the only really sympathetic character in the whole move is the blind guy.
They drizzle a little cloy sauce over Jane Levy’s character about a rotten home life but not nearly enough to justify the things she and her friends do to a grieving, blinded veteran of a foreign war.
They also try to paint the vet as being worthy of this attack because, as it turns out, he’s keeping the rich girl who killed his daughter locked up in his basement until she gives him a child to replace the one she took. (No words are wasted explaining why the Detroit PD hasn’t kicked down his door as suspect #1 in her disappearance.)
In times like these, when the rich are eating the middle class and the poor like they’re at a two fisted Golden Corral buffet, not many people in the theater begrudge this man taking his due when it was withheld from him simply by the power of this girl’s family’s money.
Leaving the theater, I was feeling kind of “meh” all around. The filmmakers could have saved us all some time if they had just burned the house down around all the characters and let it go at that.