Don't Breathe

Don't Breathe ★★

Does not inspire confidence in Alvarez, who absolutely blows this corker of a premise. At first merely sloppy -- nicely meticulous in setting up the geography of the house and the resources available to the characters, but then rampantly cheating w/r/t what the villain can and cannot hear and how long it takes him to get from place to place (not to mention the idiocy of the protagonists' initial scheme, which apparently depended on their breaking into a blind man's home and bursting into his bedroom to sedate him with smoke, all without him so much as stirring). Finds a queasily suspenseful groove for a while in the middle, then goes right to hell in the last act, which turns nasty in ways absolutely uncalled for -- why go there, I kept thinking, when you have this great set-up? If ever a film called for a successor to Wes Craven, capable of making an audience gasp and laugh and watch the screen through their fingers, it's this one; Alvarez, sadly, is more interested in being Marcus Nispel. Shame.

(N.b., this has been retitled DON'T BREATHE from the much more evocative A MAN IN THE DARK.)

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