Don't Breathe - A jolt at the box office
Two words: Turkey baster.
If that alone does not get you to the theater to see the incredibly entertaining Don’t Breathe, which has been out in the U.S. (and nearly everywhere else) – and making good money – for a few weeks now, then let me offer a few more teasers.
For one, the setting of a dilapidated Detroit could not be more appropriate in a post-recession world. I say this next bit quite genuinely: We’re talking about two white kids and a blubbering stereotype Latino robbing a blind, white war hero in quite literally a decaying neighborhood. Oh how I love horror that attempts to transcend race and class.
All commentary aside, this movie is just plain fun. Fede Alvarez, who directed the respectable Evil Dead remake, is clearly the new master of claustrophobia, using light and sound in ways that provoke the audience’s senses. This decrepit home has new life (death?) when the intruders (Jane Levy, Dylan Minette) fail to rob the Blind Man (Steven Lang) and become trapped within its walls. This seemingly easy score becomes blind cat chasing “green” mice in an elaborate labyrinth, later revealing a dark mystery harbored in the basement of the Blind Man’s home.
Like the labyrinth, the story is twisted, macabre, jump-out-of-your-boots scary. And for Americans, it became significant by closing a rather tepid and overzealous comic-book/franchise-heavy summer box office that proved to be dull and disappointing. What thrived? Horror and suspense, like The Shallows and The Purge: Election Year.
Why? It seems audiences needed a jolt; a reinvigoration that stimulates the mind and senses, even if one could deride a film like Don’t Breathe as mindless. How so when horror – generally speaking – provokes the inherent evolutionary trait of fear and tests our fight or flight? It certainly beats Suicide Squad that merely dissolves my intelligence, devolving me from the screen to the more stimulating practice of checking my watch every 15 minutes.
So, yeah. See Don’t Breathe, but you are free to exhale. If you feel it is safe to do so.