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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Surf's Up

Don't Breathe (2016) on IMDb

Plot Overview

There's an ominous opening to “Don't Breathe”: an aerial shot of a deserted Detroit neighborhood (filmed in Pomáz, Hungary). As day is breaking we slowly zoom down to the street below where some move­ment is (barely) discern­able. It's hard to believe our eyes as we get closer to what appears to be a man dragging a girl along like a rag doll. For a point of refer­ence, let's just say she's asphalt surfing.

Flashback to a door's lock being turned and we see three young hooligans: Rocky (Jane Levy)—looking like the girl in the first scene—, her boy­friend Money (Daniel Zovatto), and their opportun­istic friend Alex (Dylan Minnette) creeping into a house (“Let's do this”) to lift some goods (“Fancy!”) They don't take money, only salable mer­chan­dise. Alex's father runs his home security business out of his home giving Alex access to keys and codes when his dad's away. Money fences the goods and picks up leads from the fence middle­man. The latest one will be of an army vet who lives alone in a house with a $300,000 settlement from the death of his daughter. It's enough to tempt them to risk major larceny. They case the house to observe a man with a cane (“Is he blind?”) walking his mean rott­weiler in an abandoned neigh­bor­hood (“The whole neigh­bor­hood f___ing emptied. This guy's the last one standing.”)

His house is secured like a fortress, but they're resourceful enough to gain entry. However, once the blind man (Stephen Lang) battens down the hatches, egress is another matter. And with the lights turned out at night, their sight is more of a handicap than the blind man's blindness. I'm reminded of a talk I had with a fellow from Alaska. He said if you're tracking a polar bear and lose sight of it, that means the bear is tracking you. The kids attack the formidable lock on the cellar door figuring there's some­thing valuable down there to warrant such protection. It reminds me of a line from John McNeil in Spy Game: “He fitted that Chubb lock him­self as a precaution. Suppose one of the local villains had broken in for the usual pickings, cash and a transistor, and ended up with defense files as a bonus! There would have been all hell to pay” (228). There's going to be all hell to pay, going down there.

Rocky is trying to score so she can take her little sister Diddy (Emma Bercovici) away with her to California, who wants to be a surfer girl, but there's “no surf in Michigan.” I wouldn't be so sure about that, at least not from the perspective of spermatozoa.


Alex who for his efforts will achieve premature defenestration would have done well to heed Prov. 1:10-19 before mixing it up with the other two:
My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
Money bringing a weapon to the burglary increased his odds of getting shot.

Now, take their mark. He lives in isolation, the hallmark of a fool, (Eccl. 10:15) “The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.” He's an atheist (“God? There is no god”) as some­times happens to people after the sense­less loss of a loved one … also a mark of a fool, (Psalm 14:1) “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” And the settle­ment money he received is not likely to make him any brighter, (Prov. 17:16) “Where­fore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?”

Our not so bright burglars maybe should not have tried their luck at the blind man's house, especially his base­ment; they would have been better off tackling his bear-size vicious dog, (Prov. 17:12) “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.” As the blind man puts it, “There's nothing a man can­not do once he accepts that there is no God.”

Production Values

This movie, “” (2016) was written and directed by Fede Alvarez and co-scripted by Rodo Sayagues. It stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang. Lang is devilishly awe­some as the blind man who keeps on coming, while Jane Levy is sympa­thetic­ally transformed from a petty crook into a damsel in distress. The three main actors played their parts very well, with a veritable well of emotion coming from Levy playing Rocky.

MPAA rated it R for terror, violence, disturbing content, and language including sexual references. The audience is engaged early on by creative camera movement, sensible staging, and steady pacing, which intensifies the plot as much as does the characters. Master­ful cinema­tog­raphy by Pedro Luque allows the audience to really immerse them­selves in the space, keeping us glued to both seen and unseen dangers. The cinema­tog­raphy is supple and makes for a claustro­phobic feel of pure terror. The kids' goal of escape from the blind man on familiar turf to the safety of the street outside (“You're no good out here”) is compromised when it seems his safe combination is derived from tweaking his house number—take 1837 Buenavista; double the 3rd # = 1867; and add one to each digit to get 2978 that opens his safe—bespeaks his familiarity and comfort with the street where he lives, making it not a safe zone after all. A well tailored back­ground score only calls attention to itself during the cool end-credits. Sound design, critical to such a plot, is top-notch.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This movie is about as good as the horror genre gets. Despite some minimal shortcomings, “Don't Breathe” is suitably soiled with dark material and above par perfor­mances. It keeps us in a tight grip of suspense with youth­ful folly taking a turn for the worst.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall product rating: Five stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture was quoted from the Authorized Version, Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

McNeil, John Spy Game. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1980. Print.