Friday, September 2, 2016

Don't Breathe will literally make you hold your breath


There's a scene in Don't Breathe that people are going to talk about for a very long time. It's a rabbit-in-the-stew kind of moment, something as memorable as what Kathy Bates did in Misery. Or maybe the "Is that hair gel?" scene in There's Something About Mary is a more apt comparison. Either way you slice it, I haven't seen anything like it since Bone Tomahawk. I guarantee you the scene in question is fueling Don't Breathe's runaway word-of-mouth.

You're either going to love it or you're going to barf. On the way out the door, I heard just as many people praising the movie as hating on it. But at least the audience was engaged, which is something you can't say about the endless reboots and remakes and comic book movies. So many of the movies I've seen this year evoked little more than a shrug from the viewers as they quietly collected their belongings and shuffled outside. They had come to see a movie, that's what they saw, and it neither disappointed nor wowed them. This one knows the secret of making a story stick: you can try to please everyone, but nobody ever falls in love with movies that play it safe.

This is something special.

Which isn't to say I'm in love with Don't Breathe. As far as thrills go, I thought The Green Room was twice as good and only half as hyped. But this one's good, too—almost great—and I can see why people are talking about it. I mean... my God... what a great (disgusting) spurt of cinematic ingenuity. The detail and the closeups... holy shit. I just... wow.

Although I wasn't a fan of Fede Alvarez's Evil Dead remake, I couldn't wait to see what the guy made next. (In retrospect, I was too close to the source material to ever enjoy that movie, so it's not his fault I walked away disappointed). Here's a serious horror movie which doesn't comprise on scares. Unlike most of these flicks, this one is quiet—so quiet you can hear a pin drop in the theater—and it's interesting how quiet the audience gets. You can almost feel the people around you holding their breath, waiting for the next jump-scare. And that's another interesting creative decision: there actually aren't a whole lot of jump-scares. Best of all, there's none of that silly MTV editing, either. It's just a straightforward horror film that works and you're not going to see a better movie this weekend.

My biggest complaint is the Rottweiler in the film. That dog is one of the shittiest actors I've seen in a long time.

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