“Don’t Breathe,” guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat

Dylan Minnette and Stephen Lang star in Screen Gems' horror-thriller DON'T BREATHE.

Gordon Timpen

Dylan Minnette and Stephen Lang star in Screen Gems' horror-thriller DON'T BREATHE.

Lones Gagnard, Staff

From “Evil Dead” director Fede Alvarez comes an intense new thriller, “Don’t Breathe.” This action-packed film is bound to keep viewers on their toes while exceeding nearly every recent horror flick.

“Don’t Breathe” focuses on a group of young thieves who dabble in petty crime in order to avoid the possibility of harsher penalties. But when the seemingly perfect heist falls into their laps, they jump at the opportunity, believing the reward outweighs the risk.

The group consists of Rocky, a girl using the breaking-and-entering game to accrue enough money to take her sister out of their dysfunctional home life, Rocky’s boyfriend, Money. who is the leader and most ruthless of the crew, and Alex, the brains and key individual in the operation.

When the group learns of a blind war veteran living alone with a large cash settlement from the death of his child, they figure the money is already theirs. They soon find out, however, that it won’t be as easy as they thought. As this veteran refuses to go out without a fight, they begin to question their choice entirely.

While most horror films have quick editing and jump cuts, Alvarez and cinematographer Pedro Luque use long shots and a free-wandering camera to paint their picture. With this technique, the audience is not afraid of the unseen: “Don’t Breathe” shows everything, even zooming in on important objects that will be used later in the movie.

When one house is an entire set for a feature-length film, every corner of every room must come into play and add depth to the set. “Don’t Breathe” does this beautifully, and by the time the film has ended, every single room has been shown; even the hidden crawlspace between the top and bottom floors is revealed. For audience members, this knowledge of possible exit locations helps the viewer become more involved in trying to figure out the best way to escape this hellish nightmare.

Including the audience so heavily in the suspense was a masterstroke from Alvarez, it’s hard to care for thieves receiving their just desserts, and even harder to care for a monstrous soldier who’s losing more of his sanity by the second.

In the end, “Don’t Breathe” is a tense roller coaster that will have horror lovers on the edges of their seats. But it also touches on the bonds of parenthood and the trauma of serving in combat. While the movie may have been stronger with the blind man being a more relatable character instead of being portrayed into such a horrific light, “Don’t Breathe” was still a gripping thriller that will have movie goers screaming for years to come.