This movie settles right into the home invasion premise that past films like The Strangers, You’re Next and Hush have done so effectively. The difference is a type of role reversal right from the start where the victim in the house was never the victim to begin with. This time the victim doesn’t want his assailants to leave. So when Rocky and her friends decide to bust into a blind veteran’s house reported to be sitting on a ton of cash, their heist goes dreadfully wrong.
Stephen Lang plays “The Blind Man” who was another exciting asset to the movie for me as he already plays the relentless and terrifying, Increase Mather on the television show, Salem. I find he performs this role well and somehow made me feel less and less empathy for a blind man who had lost his daughter in a fatal car accident. I think the plot forces you to examine good and evil from controversial perspectives and decision-making of those desperate to find a way out of whatever haunts them. I felt for Rocky and her need to make money fast to remove herself and younger sister from their rough home life, but not by way of stealing from someone else seemingly incapable of defending themselves. At the same time, Blind Man has a tragic past, living with the loss of his daughter, but once inside his secluded home some horrific truths are revealed, only to become worse.
The standout moment for me was when The Blind Man is searching for the intruders and the lights cut out and the basement drips down into darkness. I could not imagine the fear that comes with suddenly losing your sight and then what’s worse, something deadly coming for you in the meantime. There was this constant turning of tables between The Blind Man and the intruders and this just evened the playing field. I was overwhelmed and uncomfortable for the duration of that scene and honestly, for most of the movie I was bracing myself through stark silences repeating themselves around every unknown corner of that house.
If you like tension-filled thrillers that rip you up inside and stop your heart, Don’t Breathe is in theaters now.