Suffocatingly tense for most of its taut 88-minute running time, home-invasion thriller Don’t Breathe should, in the interest of the viewer’s health, be re-titled: Don’t Forget to Breathe.
Uruguayan writer-director Fede Alvarez (maker of 2013’s Evil Dead remake) has us on edge from the moment three teenage would-be robbers (Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) break into the home of Stephen Lang’s blind Iraq war veteran, looking for the $300,000 reputedly stashed inside.
The ‘last man standing’ in his ravaged Detroit neighbourhood, Lang’s grief-stricken loner isn’t as defenceless as he seems. And when the tables turn, so do our sympathies. Up to a point: everyone here is morally compromised in one form or another.
Yet there isn’t really any time for scruples as Alvarez cranks up the tension, rattling our nerves with almost every move of his camera as it glides around the house, revealing dark corners and hidden secrets. And when it comes to a heart-stopping night-vision sequence, filmed in an unnervingly ghostly grey, he leaves us clutching our throats, gasping for air.
Certificate 15. Runtime 88 mins. Director Fede Alvarez
Don’t Breathe released in the UK on Friday 9 September.
Warning: The trailer contains a number of spoilers and should be viewed with caution.