Hold Your Breath for “Don’t Breathe”

Jane Levy

Don’t Breathe is written and directed by Fede Alvarez and stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, and Stephen Lang. The movie is about three friends who break into the house of a blind man who supposedly has a large sum of cash, but things go wrong once they wake him up.

This was a movie with an excellent premise that had me very excited to hopefully see some tense, claustrophobic thrills.

The Good

It turns out I got exactly what I was hoping for, as when this film moves to inside the blind man’s house, it is gripping. The way director Fede Alvarez handles the tight conditions of the house is breathtaking and creates some truly tense moments.

The camerawork is very well done in this movie, with slick movement from room to room and some nice looking wide shots from time to time. Along with the camerawork, the way sound is used as a weapon is excellently crafted and had me on the edge of my seat numerous times.

The performances are mostly solid, with Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette being very good as the two lead teens. What I liked most about their characters is that they aren’t heroes by any stretch of the imagination, and while their actions may be justified, it creates an interesting dynamic throughout the movie.

Stephen Lang is also good as the blind man, being incredibly believable as someone who is legitimately blind, while also being a truly scary presence.

As I said, this film works incredibly well inside the house, and the good news is this movie takes no time to jump right into it. The intro is incredibly short, but that’s a positive because it does only what it has to do and cuts out all the fat that usually comes with horror films.

I have to shout out a scene in this movie where the lights all go out in the house. The whole film is tense, but this scene, in particular, is excellently crafted and had me in awe.

The Bad

While Don’t Breathe is a fantastic horror film when it is inside closed doors, it is a very cheesy slasher flick once it leaves. The horror does not work towards the end of the movie when it is taken outside, as it becomes increasingly ridiculous and clichéd.

Daniel Zovatto as the third member of the group simply overdoes it from the first scene onward, and I could really care less about the fate of his character.

This movie takes some dark, gruesome turns in its plot, and while they work for shock factor, I found them unnecessary and taking away from the beautiful tension the rest of the movie was creating.


Don’t Breathe is a very effective horror thriller with solid performances from its main cast and excellent work behind the camera as well. The scenes inside the house are terrifying, but once the movie tries to move past the house, it becomes unoriginal and uninteresting. Don’t Breathe is terrific at doing one thing, and it shouldn’t have tried to do anything past that, but that doesn’t completely take away from how much this horror film does right.


Get tickets and showtimes for Don’t Breathe here (in theaters 8/26)

Are you looking forward to Don’t Breathe? Comment below with what you think.

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