Alex_Lillquist’s review published on Letterboxd:
I wasn't exactly a fan when Don't Breathe jumped into a totally twisted territory in the final act, especially one close-up shot of a household product doing it's job that made me way too nauseous, but that's just me. The first two acts are pure gold though in Fede Alvarez's simple tale of a blind man (an excellent Stephen Lang) and three thieveous young adults (all fine actors). All of them with their own morals and two things on their minds, their families and money. The blind man has a very different perspective on this matter compared to the kids and the horror ensues.
There are two scenes in Don't Breathe that prove Fede Alvarez is a director to be reckoned with, aside from his use of sound. The first is a long take (or three or so takes stitched together) when the kids first break into the blind man's house. It lays down the ground rules of the house and shows us everything that will come into play later in the film. I think it's brilliant because it actually serves a purpose towards defining the film's clock ("when will that item be used?") and it isn't just done in one take so that Alvarez can impress his audience with his directing capabilities. I mean, it still is very cool. I'm just glad there's a reason behind it.
The second scene takes place in the basement when the blind man turns off the lights and it's nothing but pitch black. We can only see the actors and their obstacles when they're extremely close to the camera. Putting the characters on the same level as the blind man (although he pretty much is always above their level) is done in such a clever and actually terrifying way. There's one shot where the blind man just stands still and waits while the camera dollies back and he is absorb into the darkness. That's my favorite shot in the film. It gives us the perfect description of who the blind man is through just the movement of the camera. A monster in the dark.
I love those scenes and I want to love this film. I can't say that because I don't love where the film goes in the third act. It doesn't turn into a bad film it just turns into a different one (and not in the good way) and with that I just simply like Don't Breathe. Given all the love everyone else has given it I'm not sure if you'll be as turned off as myself. Nevertheless, Don't Breathe is a mostly strong entry in Fede Alvarez's very promising career and the single best thing I can say about this one is that I will now be checking out his remake of The Evil Dead. I never planned on seeing it before, but frankly I really want to see more from him. Low budget horror keeps on getting better and better thanks to people like Alvarez and I can't wait to see what he does next.