Don’t Breathe: Clever Title, and Even Better Advise
Don’t Breathe: A Second Look at a Blind Thriller
You know that feeling when someone’s like, “Hey, wanna go check out the new flick? Sam Raimi produced it!” and then you’re like “besides Spiderman 3, what’s the worst that can happen?” but then during the movie you realize that the person who offered you the ticket is no friend, and you want the world to end because the film you are suffering through is that bad? Don’t Breathe. End it. Its ok. You have the power. It turns out that the title of the new Sam Raimi production Don’t Breathe contains both a name for its waste of 88 minutes, and advise for how to best use that time.
The story is weak, three house burglars get a lead to a new job, $300,000 cash owned by a blind vet in an abandoned neighborhood in Michigan. Easy right? Nope. He has a fuckton of locks on his house, and once he becomes aware of their presence, relentlessly follows them around shooting a gun at any sound he hears. Majority of the movie is watching Blindy (Stephen Lang) chase the burglars around his house.
It turns out he has a woman chained to a padded room in his basement. Weird. Blindy accidentally shoots the chained woman when she was trying to escape, and once he captures the female thief (Jane Levy), he attempts to extract justice. It turns out the chained woman was responsible for accidentally killing Blindy’s daughter. So of course, he felt like she owed him a baby. Now the female thief is chained up and forced to take the same debt. Blindy makes it clear that it’s not rape, because he uses a turkey baster filled with his…DNA. She escapes, shoves the turkey baster down his throat, giving the master-baster a taste of his own medicine, and survives with the money, her two buddies died and Blindy goes to the hospital for wounds, but is released after he heals. Happy ending.
The central problem with this film is that we aren’t given anyone to cheer for, or even sympathize with. Before we find out about Blindy’s chained woman, all we know is that he is a blind vet. And yes, the female has a shitty home life, but don’t we all? We’re never given any ethical reason why we should be cheering for these thieves. They like robbing houses, as evidenced when the leader, Money (Daniel Zovatto) jerks off and cums all over the living room of the first house we see them rob. Yes, there is a literal “Money Shot” in the opening sequence. Before we know that Blindy is a weirdo creep, he is a poor, innocent, blind Iraqi war veteran. This moral dilemma comes up, but is socially resolved when Money points out “Just because he’s blind, don’t make him a saint, Bro.”
Most of the time in this film is spent squinting at a dark screen, trying to make out what is going on. This makes sense because a blind guy wouldn’t need to invest in lighting. There’s even a very disorienting scene shot in night vision. But aside from literally trying to make out the shapes on the screen, on every level it leaves you wondering “Why the fuck am I watching this?” One would hope for some sort of commentary on the ease of firearm attainment, or PTSD, or blind justice, or some sort of point or message, even an anti-message would be nice. But there is nothing, except that it’s not rape if you use a turkey baster.