Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fede Alvarez|
|Music by||Roque Baños|
|Box office||$152.8 million|
Don't Breathe is a 2016 American horror film directed by Fede Alvarez and written by Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues. The film stars Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto and Stephen Lang, and focuses on three friends who get trapped inside a blind man's house while breaking into it.
The film was produced by Ghost House Pictures and Good Universe. The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 12, 2016, and was theatrically released on August 26, 2016, by Screen Gems and Stage 6 Films. It received critically positive reviews and grossed over $152 million.
Rocky, Alex, and Money are three Detroit delinquents who make a living by breaking into homes secured by Alex's father's security company and selling the items they take. However, the person buying the stolen goods from Money doesn't give them a fair price, and not nearly enough to fund Rocky's dream of moving to California with her little sister Diddy to escape their neglectful mother and her alcoholic boyfriend. Money receives a tip that an Army veteran living in an abandoned Detroit neighborhood has $300,000 in cash in his house, given as a settlement after a wealthy young woman, Cindy Roberts (who has gone missing), killed his daughter in a car accident. The three stake out the house and discover that the man is blind. After some deliberation, they decide to rob the house at night, with the Blind Man still in it as he had not left his house in many days.
That night, the three approach the house and drug the Blind Man's dog. Finding all the entrances locked, Rocky enters the house through a small window and lets the other two in. The group searches the house for the money but are unable to find it; assuming it is behind a locked door, Money shoots the lock. The noise wakes up the Blind Man, who subdues Money and murders him with his own gun. Rocky hides in a closet, where she witnesses the Blind Man open a safe to check on his money. After he leaves, Alex finds Rocky in the closet, and the two open the safe and take the money. Meanwhile, the Blind Man finds Money's and Rocky's shoes downstairs, and realizes that Money was not the only intruder.
Rocky and Alex evade the Blind Man and find a door leading to the basement. There, they are surprised by a restrained, gagged woman in a homemade padded cell. She shows them a newspaper article mentioning Cindy and the car accident; they realize that she is Cindy, held captive by the Blind Man. They free her and open the storm cellar door, only to be surprised by the Blind Man, who mistakenly shoots and kills Cindy with Money's gun. Rocky and Alex flee into the cellar while the Blind Man, enraged at Cindy's death, shuts off the lights. After a struggle, Alex subdues the Blind Man, and Rocky follows him back upstairs.
After blocking the basement door, they encounter the Blind Man's Dog, who has recovered from being drugged. Alex and Rocky are unable to unlock the front door in time before the dog attacks them, and so they flee into the upstairs bedroom, where they find themselves trapped by the barred windows. Rocky escapes the room through a ventilation duct, while the dog breaks into the bedroom and attacks Alex, who falls out of a window onto a skylight and briefly falls unconscious. When Alex awakens, the Blind Man shoots out the skylight and later manages to subdue Alex in his utility room, where he appears to kill him with a pair of pruning shears. Meanwhile, the dog pursues Rocky through the vents, and she is eventually captured by the Blind Man. She wakes up restrained in the basement, where the Blind Man reveals that Cindy was carrying his child in order to replace the one she killed. He prepares to impregnate Rocky with a turkey baster, but Alex, still alive, intervenes and handcuffs him.
Rocky refuses to call the police, as their blood is all over the house, so they attempt to leave through the front door, but the Blind Man breaks free and shoots Alex dead. Rocky flees, but the dog pursues her. She manages to trap the dog in her car trunk, but is recaptured by the Blind Man and dragged back to his house. Inside, Rocky disorients the Blind Man by setting off his house's loud alarm system, then beats him with a crowbar and knocks him into the basement; the gun goes off and shoots him as he falls. Rocky leaves him to die and escapes before the police arrive.
With the money, Rocky prepares to leave Detroit with Diddy on a train to Los Angeles. Before boarding the train, she sees a news report stating that the Blind Man killed two intruders (Alex and Money) in his house and survived his injuries, but, for some reason, did not report Rocky or the stolen money. Rocky then starts leaving the train station, heading back into Detroit.
- Jane Levy as Rocky
- Stephen Lang as Norman Nordstrom / "The Blind Man"
- Dylan Minnette as Alex
- Daniel Zovatto as Money
- Franciska Törőcsik as Cindy Roberts
- Emma Bercovici as Diddy
- Christian Zagia as Raul
- Katia Bokor as Ginger
- Sergej Onopko as Trevor
Fede Alvarez noted that making the film was, in some ways, a reaction to his debut film Evil Dead, specifically the criticisms that the film had too much blood, focused too much on shocking the audience, and was a remake. In contrast, Alvarez decided to make Don't Breathe, an original story that contained less blood and focused more on suspense over shocking audiences. He wanted to avoid making a film dealing with the supernatural, as he felt that was too trendy. Choosing to make the antagonist blind was a result of deliberately taking abilities away from him; Alvarez explained, "Sometimes you naturally give them powers and make them more menacing than a normal person, so we thought what if we do the other way around and take his eyes out and make him a blind person." Alvarez has called the movie "exercise in reversal" noting that the film deliberately subverts tropes such as the fact that the house in question is a "nice house on a scary street" as opposed to the opposite, or that the movie is a home invasion story told from the point of view of the invaders.
On May 1, 2015, Daniel Zovatto joined the cast. On May 22, 2015, Dylan Minnette was cast in the film, and on June 18, 2015, Jane Levy and Stephen Lang joined the cast. Principal photography began on June 29, 2015. Though the film is set in Detroit, it was primarily shot in Hungary; only a few views of Detroit were filmed there. Alvarez estimated that the film cost roughly half as much as Evil Dead, and welcomed the change, as it allowed for less studio interference.
As of October 29, 2016, Don't Breathe has grossed $89.1 million in North America and $63.7 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $152.8 million, against a budget of $9.9 million. Due to its low production budget, the film was considered a large financial success and a sleeper hit. For Sony Pictures, it became their second late-summer surprise hit of 2016, following Sausage Party.
Don't Breathe was released in the United States and Canada on August 26, 2016, and was originally projected to gross $11–14 million from 3,051 theaters in its opening weekend, with some estimates going as high as $20 million, and many publications noting it could be the first film to dethrone Suicide Squad from the top of the box office. It made $1.9 million from Thursday night preview screenings, at 2,500 theaters, and $10 million on its opening day. It fell just 1.5% on Saturday, earning $9.8 million, which is uncommon as R-rated horror films tend to do well on their first day and drop sharply in revenue from their second day onward. Compared to other 2016 horror films, Lights Out had a drop of 22%, while The Conjuring 2 fell by 15%. In total, it grossed $26.4 million in its opening weekend, far above initial projections by 120% and easily displacing Suicide Squad to take the top spot at the box office. It is the biggest original horror debut of the year (besting 10 Cloverfield Lane), the biggest Screen Gems August opening ever (beating Takers) and the biggest debut for an R-rated original horror film since The Conjuring in 2013. Following its first-place finish, the film continued to dominate the box office for the second weekend, earning $15.8 million and an estimated $19.5 million for the four day Labor Day holiday, one of the best numbers ever for the long holiday weekend. As a result, it became only the second horror film to top the weekend box office two weekends in a row since 2014. The second weekend drop was only -40%, a remarkable feat considering the fact that horror films typically tumbles at least 60% or more in their second weekend. The gradual drop was due to the holiday. It took only 11 days to surpass Alvarez's previous movie, the Evil Dead reboot.
Although the film fell to third place in its third weekend as a result of being overtaken by Sully and When The Bough Breaks, it continued to witness strong holds by falling 49% after adding another 333 theaters.
Outside North America, the film's biggest debuts were in the U.K. ($1.3 million), Germany ($1.3 million), Brazil ($1.2 million) Mexico ($1.2 million) and Australia ($1 million). In scored the third biggest opening of the year for a Hollywood film in Korea with $4.5 million. It's on pace to become the highest-grossing horror film in Uruguay.
Don't Breathe received positive reviews from critics. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 87%, based on 177 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Don't Breathe smartly twists its sturdy premise to offer a satisfyingly tense, chilling addition to the home invasion genre that's all the more effective for its simplicity." Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, gives the film a score of 71 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Dennis Harvey of Variety called Don't Breathe "a muscular exercise in brutal, relentless peril that should please genre fans." Jim Vejvoda of IGN awarded 8.8/10 and wrote, "Director Fede Alvarez delivers a lean, very mean thrill ride with Don't Breathe, tapping into several primal human fears and further establishing himself as one of the genre filmmakers to keep an eye on in the years ahead." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 3 out 4 stars, writing: "This is some weird, twisted shit. Don't groan when I say Don't Breathe is a home-invasion thriller. Director Fede Alvarez is as good as it gets when it comes to playing with things that go bump in the night." Kyle Smith of the New York Post also gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, saying, "Apart from its thin characters and occasional trite moments, as well as a silly attempt to set up a sequel, Don't Breathe is just about perfect." Amy Nicholson of MTV wrote in a positive review, "Alvarez knows the size of his ambitions. He's written one great ghoul, surrounded him with targets, and simply let him let rip."
In November of 2016 director, producer, and writer Fede Alvarez confirmed that there will be a sequel, which will focus on Stephen Lang's character.
Inspired by the film's financial and critical success, Vikram was in talks for an official remake in Tamil. During October 2016, Fede Alvarez confirmed about the remake via Twitter. The untitled venture, in its pre-production stage, likely to helmed by Anand Shankar and bankrolled by K. E. Gnanavel Raja of Studio Green, for which Vikram is said to have undergoing physical transformations on the lines of I and Iru Mugan is expected to be shot at Ooty and Kodaikanal.
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- Official website
- Don't Breathe at the Internet Movie Database
- Don't Breathe at Box Office Mojo
- Don't Breathe at Metacritic
- Don't Breathe at Rotten Tomatoes