Don’t Breathe. Fede Alvarez. USA.
2016 provided us with a heavier onslaught of the horror genre than previous years, at least in the United States and from my typically skewed perspective (I go through years where I somehow miss most of the Hollywood genre output). We saw a reliably jumpy, if only adequate, sequel to The Conjuring; a moderately satisfying girl-versus-shark survival yarn with The Shallows; and a joyless return to the haunted woods of the Blair Witch, among others. Without question though, Don’t Breathe was the finest American horror film of 2016.
Don’t Breathe is top-of-the-line “suspense porn,” moving swiftly and never really letting up. It certainly announces Sam Raimi’s protégé, Fede Alvarez, who previously directed the Evil Dead remake, as an exciting new figure in the genre, even if Don’t Breathe lacks the sense of humor found in Raimi’s finer works (although there is one enormously funny moment in the third act of the film that I won’t give away). In a lesser year, this taut, at times nasty home invasion exploit would have made my top 10.
Sony Pictures released Don’t Breathe theatrically in the U.S., France, and the U.K. earlier this year.
With: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Emma Bercovici, Franciska Töröcsik