Sunday, 8 January 2017

Don't Breathe

Just before my New Year holiday started I went to go and see Don't Breathe which at the time had just come out in Japan.  First thing to note is that this is the first horror movie I've gone to in a while where I wasn't expecting pure garbage from the get go.  With other movies like Gekijourei (which was crap) and Sadako Vs Kayako (which was surprisingly awesome) my expectations going into any movie (or game for that matter) from this genre are fairly low but with this I was quite excited.  I'm going to keep this post as spoiler free as possible so if you've not seen it and you want to, don't worry.

The premise is a simple one.  3 kids who live in Detroit hate their lives, probably can't find jobs and have therefore resorted to thievery.  One member of the group has a father who works for a security firm so they use his collection of house keys and security system know how to break into places and steal valuables (never money) and then sell them off to try and raise funds for a permanent ticket out of town.  One member catches wind of an old man sitting on a ton of money and after some deliberation the group decide to rob this guy for his cash rather than his stuff on the condition that they make it their last robbery ever.  However, despite finding out that the old guy is blind and alone, things go awry after they get caught and Mr Blind starts wrecking their shit.

Generally speaking the movie is pretty enjoyable with lots of great set pieces that sort of act like a visual roller coaster.  Lots of tension in dark, quiet rooms followed by HOLY SHIT.  You could argue that the movie is making and over use of jump scares but the enemy of this film is a blind guy, of course he's going to sit quietly not doing much before his super hearing gives him a good idea of how to attack and then BAM! act of super violence and the trailer made it very clear that there was going to be lots of that.  Without spoiling anything though, there are a number of jump scares that involve a dog and anything involving the Don't Breathe dog is just pure cheap bullshit.

While all in all it's an enjoyable experience there's a couple of glaring problems that I just can't quite get over.  All the characters are heavily unlikable and I couldn't quite internally cheer for any of them.  The three main characters, the ones that we're supposed to be sympathetic too are criminals robbing and old blind man.  I'm still wondering why they can't just get normal Detroit jobs and save the money to leave that way.  Even when they do leave, if they are so unemployable that they had to resort to thievery then what makes them think that moving to a new town will just magically solve that problem?  Yes and I know there's more to it than just that for the girl of the group but I'm sure she could have done something other than just heartlessly robbing people.

I actually spent most of the movie rooting for the blind guy to kill them all off.  He's just an old man turned blind from fighting in a war and on top of that his wife is dead and his daughter got ran over.  I think he's well within his rights to stick it to a bunch of petty thieves trying to take away the only thing he has left.  But then, without spoiling anything, he fucks it up and he out-dicks the main dicks by about a million times.  It was the only point in the movie where I thought "ok, now you're going a little far".  I mean I'm not against a little bit of gross out horror but I felt like mercilessly boarding up his house from the inside made him "enemy" enough and this weird sub plot which I can't really talk about with no spoilers was a desperate attempt to make him seem really terrible and the three stooges seem like heroes of the day when in reality it just makes everyone a huge prick.

So there you have it, an overall enjoyable film with a cast full of pricks and a plot twist that will make you do a little sigh and go "c'mon, really?".  Still though, you could do a lot worse so give it a go if you're a horror fan needing to fill the void a little.  Just as a little gaming related side note, I can't help but feel that Don't Breathe would work really well as a VR title, just sayin'.

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