Forget the occult. Sometimes the scariest films are those most grounded in reality. ‘Don’t Breathe’ is a prime example.
Three teenage burglars target the home of a blind army veteran, but the tables are soon turned as they discover that he is far from harmless and has no intention of letting them leave alive. Trapped, the teens must try to escape the house where the smallest sound could mean death.
‘Don’t Breathe’ succeeds brilliantly in creating an atmosphere of knuckle-biting tension and panic, combined in the final act with some sickening moments of horror, in the most literal sense of the word. This film refuses to let the viewer feel comfortable.
Stephen Lang as the blind man is the ideal man-monster; implacable, twisted and unerringly chilling. The teens are the conventional lineup of stock slasher victims; the unpleasant one who you think sort of deserves it, the well meaning but dopey one in over his head and the scrappy, resourceful girl in the middle. Nothing groundbreaking, but a solid performance from Jane Levy et al nonetheless.
Strikingly shot and with an intimate, visceral realism that makes it all the scarier, ‘Don’t Breathe’ is precisely what a horror film should be.