Don’t Breathe Blu-ray Review
Written by Steve Pattee
Blu-ray released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Directed by Fede Álvarez
Written by Fede Álvarez and Rodo Sayagues
2016, 88 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on November 29th, 2016
Stephen Lang as The Blind Man
Jane Levy as Rocky
Dylan Minnette as Alex
Daniel Zovatto as Money
When a trio of friends, Rocky, Alex, and Money, find out that there’s a man has a few hundred thousand dollars stashed in his house in an abandoned part of Detroit, they figure it’s easy money. It doesn’t hurt that these ruffians have been robbing houses for a while now, more-or-less inside jobs due to the fact they are hitting the homes that the owners have opted for a particular security company; one that Alex’s dad works for. Because of this, they not only have the keys to the houses they rob, but also a fancy little gadget that will disable the alarm when pointed at it. So not only do they have the necessary tools (and experience) for this to be a cake walk, turns out the homeowner is blind! Double bonus, am I right? No, I’m not right. Like the Wu-Tang Clan, this blind guy is nothing to fuck with, and these dumb kids are about to find that out in a hurry.
Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe the script for Don’t Breathe failed me, but I never once rooted for these jackass home invaders, cheering on The Blind Man (played with strength, force, and fear by Stephen Lang and his scotch-and-cigar-diet voice). The script by Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues makes a meager attempt to get on team Rocky (single mom, doing what she can to get her daughter out of the situation she’s in) or Alex (clean cut white boy who’s close with his dad, mainly doing jobs because of his crush on Rocky), but nothing changes the fact that these assholes are breaking into, robbing, and damaging homes; including that of The Blind Man, a war vet who lost his sight in the service and his daughter in a tragic hit and run. Even when there is a reveal showing The Blind Man’s true colors (which only get more uncomfortable once he ties up Rocky), you still don’t have sympathy for these knuckleheads. At least I didn’t. You bust into someone’s house with weapons with the goal of stealing their property, you get everything coming to you. And that’s the rub here. Even though The Blind Man is legitimately involved some messed up shit, what the man has been through just as a father...you can almost see where he’s coming from. The teens? Not so much.
But don’t mistake that diatribe with me not enjoying Don’t Breathe. Quite the opposite. There’s a lot of fun and discomfort to be found in the film’s 88 minutes. I’ve always been a fan of the revenge genre – which this kind of falls under, even though The Blind Man is exacting his revenge immediately – as well as taking glee in watching jerks get their comeuppance, and the movie delivers (more or less) on both (although I wish it had delivered just a little more at the end).
While not as good as his first feature-length film, the Evil Dead remake, director Fede Álvarez effectively injects mass amounts of tension into Don’t Breathe. There were more than a few moments where I found myself holding my breath along with Rocky, Alex, or Money, when The Blind Man was...looking? feeling out? the room to determine who or what made that noise he just heard. In addition, the scenes with the dog, a beautiful Rottweiler, are delightful. It’s unfortunate that good boy didn’t get a mouthful of entitled jackass.
At the end of the day, Don’t Breathe doesn’t quite live up to the hype surrounding it, but it’s a fine second offering from a director to watch. Plus, the amount of meanness in it is a surprise. Not only did I see the mentioned reveal coming at all, I will also say that no one is safe in this movie. Sure, there will be the nitpickers out there screaming that it’s impossible for a blind man to do all the things The Blind Man does here (hello! DAREDEVIL! God.), if you are capable of leaving your brain at the door, you’re in for a good time.
Video and Audio:
Don’t Breathe hits Blu-ray with a great looking (to be expected) picture. While colors don’t pop (clearly an artistic choice), there’s plenty of fine detail found throughout, and you can almost touch the dirt and grime in The Blind Man’s neighborhood and basement.
The 5.1 DTS MA soundtrack absolutely kicks. If you have a nice subwoofer, prepare for a workout.
English subtitles are offered.
- 8 Deleted Scenes with Director's Commentary
- No Escape
- Creating the Creepy House
- Meet the Cast
- Commentary with Director Fede Alvarez, Co-Writer Rodo Sayagues and Actor Stephen Lang
- Man in the Dark
- The Sounds of Horror
Don’t let that list fool you, while it looks like there are quite a few features, the featurettes run a total of 16 minutes and with the exception of “The Sounds of Horror”, they are more-or-less promo pieces. Just when you get into them, they’re over, and the only reason I called out “The Sounds of Horror”, it’s the most interesting of the bunch because it goes into, albeit briefly, the unique sound of the film.
The deleted scenes are of the rare type where I’m surprised a few hit the cutting room floor. Many times deleted scenes are cut for good reason, but here, three actually add to character motivation.
The commentary is middle of the road in that nothing is much gleaned from it, but it’s an enjoyable enough listen.
All in all, your average set of features.