15 – 88mins – 2016
IN THE KINGDOM OF THE BLIND
“Just because he’s blind doesn’t mean he’s a fuckin’ saint, bro.”
Claustrophobically executed, this low budget real-world horror from Evil Dead remaker Fede Alvarez (and produced by Sam Raimi) is an efficient exhibition in tension. Have-a-go burglars Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Goosebumps Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) are hoping to steal enough cash from local properties to leave behind their downtrodden neighbourhood and start afresh – but their dreams may well be coming to an abrupt end when they mistake the home of a blind Army veteran (Stephen Lang) living in isolation for an easy target…
At a taut 88minutes and largely filmed in the one location, Don’t Breathe still gives you plenty of peril for your pennies – a home invasion thriller where the vulnerable fights back, and may not be as innocent as you first think. An early reveal of what resides in the blind man’s locked basement indicates that there are further twists to follow, and after plenty of cat-and-mouse self-defence sparring (seriously, no-one comes out of this one without scars!) the truth will further throw your sympathies into a spin.
Sadly, as skilfully filmed as the action is (in particular a dark-light sequence which leaves everyone with a handicap in the vision stakes), I did find it crossed a line into unpleasant far too often for my liking. I’m all for realism in genre films, but this was so brutal at times it almost felt like torture porn! Guns are fired, punches thrown and injuries sustained on both sides, but I found it very difficult to align to either the thieves or the ‘victim’ – and that makes the film, for all its positive attributes, very hard to remain invested in.
CR@B’s Claw Score: