Don’t Breathe

[Probably a bit SPOILERy but not too much]

This horror/thriller from the director, Fede Alverez, who did the remake of the Evil Dead (yes, I don’t know why either) uses post-recession Detroit as the backdrop for a home invasion gone wrong thriller. Three young thieves, seeking to escape Detroit, are using security keys to target houses. There is the lure of a big score at the home of a blind, ex war vet. Like last days for a police officer, we all know the ‘just one last job’ never ends well. Of course it goes wrong, and the vet isn’t quite as incapable as they’d anticipated. But neither is he as innocent and the house harbours a secret.

In this respect Don’t Breathe is very similar to 2015’s less well known Intruders. That featured someone a home invasion, someone house bound (through agoraphobia), the tables turned on the three burglars, and a secret in the basement (do all American houses have something dodgy in the basement??). Indeed, it’s not just similar but aside from a few twists, almost identical.

But it’s well shot and the tension is almost maintained at the sort of pace that makes you realise you’re hunching you shoulders in an uncomfortable manner. There’s one unpleasant, and probably unnecessary scene that seems more akin to the horror side of Alvarez’s canon. It works best instead as tightly focused thriller, and although it gets a bit laboured towards the end with one too many false endings, it’s effective and relentless.

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