The Unders | “Don’t Breathe” Proves Terror Lies in What You Can’t See

The Unders | “Don’t Breathe” Proves Terror Lies in What You Can’t See

It’s great when there is breaking news, and no one knows what’s broke. Like when Stephen Lang (Avatar, Tombstone, Into the Badlands) tweets he just finished filming Don’t Breathe 2 and many horror fans across Twitter ask, “Was there even a first one?”

Never mind his lack of detail for hashtags or there is even a need for a sequel. He has a definite reason to promote this news. And if you have never seen Don’t Breathe, his portrayal of “The Blind Man” is harrowing. Again, the sad thing is many people never knew it was there.

There’s also nothing like a movie that proves real horror lies within, such is the case with Don’t Breathe. The same year Mike Flanagan decided to pick on a hearing-impaired person in Hush, Fede Alvarez (The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Evil Dead of 2013) had a similar idea for a visually impaired person. Only, with a morbid and surprisingly “freak the eff out” twist.

In this edition of “The Unders,” you’ll get just enough spoilers to whet your appetite. The idea is to make you thirst for what you don’t have. You need to see Don’t Breathe and there’s no time like October to give yourself a case of the chills. Trust: You will get it with this…and you won’t even see it coming. #SorryNotSorry

The Blind Man Cometh

If you haven’t seen the trailer, you’re not quite sure what you’re about to read. It doesn’t hurt that Stephen Lang is jacked and provides a physically imposing presence. Dude is just a badass (except for being a sniveling, cowardice turd in Tombstone). So, you already have some comfort Don’t Breathe will be a good watch. But it is so much better than you think.

Once you check this out and experience the twist, you’ll understand…

In 2016, this severely underrated movie came out with little fanfare. Despite the limited amount of buzz, it turned a handsome profit, $157M worldwide on a $10M budget. As you noticed, these three dopes from Detroit — Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovato, Jane Levy — decided to victimize the wrong victim.

As you can tell, the loss of sight was less of a deterrent for Lang’s character as he uses the dark to turn the tables on these would-be thieves and create a night of sheer terror and buyer’s remorse.

And why not? The master of the dark mystery, Sam Raimi, produced Don’t Breathe. He applied his pen to the script as well. The movie begins as a slow burn watching Alex, “Money,” and Rocky (respectively) enjoying taking it to the wealthy.

These white-trash Robin Hoods catch wind about a blind veteran in town who just won a major cash settlement following the death of his only child.

Seems easy enough, so they break into the anonymous “blind man’s” house. Minutes later, things spike in the adrenaline department and you are glued to the edge of your seat. The great part of the psychology behind Don’t Breathe is you will turn up the volume on your TV — and no one is saying a word.

Don’t Breathe Will Leave You Gasping

Rocky (Jane Levy) can’t say a word as she watches the unthinkable and unseen.

We can see three people trapped in a small, dank home unsure what could possibly go wrong with robbing a blind man. Then, the spaces get smaller, the noise gets fainter, and the horror gets clearer.

You begin feeling claustrophobic, which is a testament to how Fede Alvarez figures out how to work in the white spaces — the spots in the film where nothing is happening. That is where Alvarez does his best work. It’s where The Blind Man (or his damn, rabid dog) is resting around the corner. It’s what is directly in front of you that you don’t see.

Pretty much what The Blind Man “sees” on a daily basis. Halfway through the first act to the first half of the third, you are engrossed in the psychological fear of what a horror movie should be able to deliver. Very little gore. No slasher. All panic. And it is great.

If you go into the film wondering how this treacherous trio sticks it out, don’t. The guys on the cast hardly have any significance in the film at all. Jane Levy was the starlet of the Evil Dead remake in 2013, directed by Alvarez. So, the boss did Levy a solid. Well, kinda. The girl probably required therapy following the filming of this movie. It is that tense.

Although the latter moments of the film substitute the psychological horror for some good, old-fashioned physical shock value, Don’t Breathe is a splendid film in the horror genre and a masterclass of how to freak you out by doing nothing but sitting there. When you think a jump scare is coming, it won’t. That’s just your sweat glands clamming up. And when you think you can breathe easy, you’ll choke for air.

And what horror movie would be without a hair-raising twist. Believe me, watch as careful as you want. Raimi and Alvarez take strong precautions to surprise. The only hint is you will absolutely understand why a sequel is coming. Following watching this film, you’ll be in line to see it opening weekend too.

All Images Courtesy: Screen Gems/Stage 6/Ghost House Pictures

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