Edge-of-your-seat chiller turns predators into prey | Inquirer Entertainment

Edge-of-your-seat chiller turns predators into prey

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 01:39 AM September 03, 2016

ZOVATTO, LEVI AND MINNETTE. There are urgent warnings that demand to be heeded.          AP

ZOVATTO, LEVI AND MINNETTE. There are urgent warnings that demand to be heeded. AP

When three petty thieves decide to up their larcenous game for one final hit, what they don’t count on is having their old—and blind—solitary victim quickly turning the tables on them!

That’s the central premise that gets “Don’t Breathe’s” narrative motor running.  You may have seen something similar in films like David Finchers “Panic Room,” Eli Roth’s “Knock Knock” and even Chris Columbus’ “Home Alone,” but Fede Alvarez’s edge-of-your-seat chiller operates on a scarier and  more visceral level, due to its inventive yarn-spinning, urgent pacing, competent portrayals and “claustrophobic” staging.


Delinquent youngsters Rocky (Jane Levy), Money (Daniel Zovatto) and the perpetually reluctant Alex (Dylan Minnette) make a quick buck by breaking into the homes “protected” by the security company where Alex’s dad works.


The “scraps” the trio gets from burglary aren’t nearly enough to support Rocky’s dream of leaving her dysfunctional family in Michigan behind and relocating to California to “start fresh.”

But, she finds the quickest way out of Detroit when Money gets wind of the sob story of Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang), who lives alone in a rundown apartment.

Money learns that the daughter of old Norman, who’s blind as a bat, was killed in an accident by a wealthy woman (Jane Graves) who allegedly paid the distraught father a huge amount of money to settle the case. Alex, Rocky and he can easily put Norman’s big dog to sleep, disable the alarm, sedate the old guy, find the six-figure loot, then leave town—piece of cake!

But, things don’t go as planned when they break into the blind man’s home. After the initial “setback,” Norman, who turns out to be a highly skilled war veteran who’s comfortable with all sorts of weapons, quickly takes charge of the situation, relying on his heightened senses to outsmart his inexperienced predators—turning them into his hapless  prey!

It doesn’t take long for Alex and his pals to realize that the blind man isn’t as helpless as he looks, and  uncover the horrifying secrets that lurk behind the walls of Norman’s lonely home—and they’re trapped in it!

If you enjoy squirming in your seat, this is the film to see, because it knows how to scare the bejesus out of viewers. Alvarez keeps the film’s twists and turns coming, and the action never lets up.


Immersive camrawork and clever use of mood lighting also heighten the sense of dread that crawls into viewers as soon as the young burglars realize what they’ve gotten themselves into.

It’s a thrillingly satisfying cautionary yarn, spun by Alvarez and his team to astute perfection. It reminds viewers that there are urgent warnings that demand to be heeded—and should never be ignored!

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TAGS: Don’t Breathe, films, suspense, Thriller

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