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Film review: Don’t Breathe – home-invasion thriller effective, but tainted by misogyny

Director Fede Alvarez brings a fresh twist to the horror subgenre in this well shot and well acted film, but the violence against women it depicts shouldn’t be deemed acceptable in this day and age

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:16pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:15pm

2.5/5 stars

Horror and suspense fans will find all they desire in this slick movie. There are some effective twists, the editing is effective – an essential quality for a good shocker – and it looks shiny and expensive. There’s even a vaguely credible story, which director Fede Alvarez (2013’s The Evil Dead remake) strives hard to keep on track amidst the bloody mayhem. But the gloss and technical proficiency can’t elevate this from the level of a schlocky drive-in movie with a very good paint job.

Don’t Breathe is set in Detroit, a desolate shell of a city that has, in reality, been destroyed by urban flight. Three youths, Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Lovato), plan to rob the decrepit house of a blind Iraq war veteran (Stephen Lang). That should be a cinch for the streetwise youths, but problems arise because they hadn’t counted on the blind man having a vicious guard dog ... which turns out to be the least of their problems.

Don’t Breathe continues the rise of ‘smart’ low-budget horror

The story is well structured, and the scary bits do their job well enough, although they follow the tried-and-tested patterns. The young cast act their socks off, and that adds extra quality. But there’s no excuse for the film’s vile misogyny, even if violence against women is a staple ingredient of such films. Shots of a woman being repeatedly punched in the face, and a particularly nasty attempted rape scene, should not count as entertainment.

Don’t Breathe opens on October 6

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