Movie Review: Don't Breathe (2016)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2016 thriller starring Stephen Lang and Jane Levy.

Synopsis: Frustrated by the small amount of money they are making by breaking into homes, three Detroit-area friends decide to break into a blind veteran's house and steal the $300,000 settlement he received when his daughter was killed. However, his enhanced sense of hearing and military training make their seemingly simple robbery attempt much more hazardous than they expected, especially when they stumble upon his dark secret.


Thanks to quite a few years' worth of movie watching experience, I've learned never to judge a film by its trailer. However, when my wife and I saw some previews for this film some time ago, we were both intrigued by it. And, this past weekend, we finally got around to watching it on DVD.

Unfortunately, after seeing it, I have to say I was a little disappointed by it.

The movie wasn't completely bad. In fact, there were some things I found I liked about it. For one, I thought the blind man (Lang) had a surprisingly decent creepy vibe, something that did make him a little more entertaining (especially when we learn about his secret and realize he isn't as nice of a guy as people think).

I also found I liked how his house was a home-built prison in the middle of a deserted neighborhood. This did add a sense of hopelessness because, even if they did manage to escape his house, he could easily stalk them throughout the neighborhood without any witnesses or anyone helping them out.

Oh, and I also found I liked the fact he had a dog. This added an additional element to the movie because it meant they had to watch out for two potential killers, not just the guy with the guns.

The problem with this movie is, like so many others in this genre, it never reaches a point where I would really describe it as overly scary. There were a couple intense moments (like when they were down in a dark basement with him), but nothing that had me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Part of the reason for this is the overall plot did prove to be much more predictable than I thought it would. Once we learn the intended victim is blind, the whole "enhanced hearing" thing became a little obvious. And, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the locked basement door had nothing to do with his money.

The other reason, in my opinion at least, is, even with his faults, I found it hard not to justify his actions. This is especially true of his desire to hunt down and kill the three friends who broke into his house. After all, he was just defending his property and they were the ones who pulled a gun first. They got what they had coming to them.

I also thought this movie had a few too many holes in the plot. For example, considering he was more than capable of defending himself and had a secret I'm assuming he would want to keep from the police, why exactly did he have an alarm system on his house (I'm only mentioning this because it is something that both led to the break-in and became a big part of the plot later)?

Plus, for a prison-like residence, it did seem a little too easy for Rocky (Levy) to break in. He seriously just happened to leave the one unbarred window open? That just seems very unlikely and, albeit minor, was one of those things that just kept the film from being as good as it could have been.

Final Opinion

It's an OK film with a pretty decent "villain" and a couple intense scenes. But, the predictable plot and the fact it was a little too easy to feel sympathy for the main bad guy did keep this film from reaching its full potential as a thriller. I didn't regret watching it. However, there wasn't anything about this movie that set it apart from dozens of other similar films.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 02/27/2017, StevenHelmer
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dustytoes on 02/28/2017

My son and I enjoy watching thrillers / suspense movies together. Thanks for the review of "Don't Breath".

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