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Sep 1, 2016
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You've probably heard the phrase "to rob someone blind" before. This expression pertains to a person robbing someone else so mercilessly and comprehensively that it would seem like he was robbing a blind man. It's a notion most Filipinos are familiar with and it reminds us of how some of our local politicians' audacity to steal millions from the treasury. Yung bagong Porsche ni Governor? Paid for by the collective contributions of the constituents of Pinoy Barrio A. What do the citizens get in return? A waiting shed in the middle of nowhere of course. (Thanks, Gob!)

Like stealing from the nation's coffers, robbing a blind person might seem like the easiest of crimes to commit. But what if the blind man in question just happens to be an army veteran who has all the skills and ruthlessness of Liam Neeson in Taken?

This is the premise of Don't Breathe, the latest thriller from director Fede Alvarez.

She can't believe that it's already 2016 and her
BF is still rocking cornrows like Kevin Federline

Rocky (Jane Levy), her boyfriend Money (Daniel Zovatto), and their friend Alex (Dylan Minnette) are three juvenile thieves from Detroit who break into houses of wealthy people. Looking for a bigger score, Money (who you might guess is a douchebag from his name alone) gets word of a blind army veteran (Stephen Lang) who'd just receive a cash settlement after the death of his only child from a car accident. Why the blind man kept all that money inside his house and not in a bank is never mentioned. Maybe he doesn't like going to banks or maybe he couldn't comply with BPI's deadline to update his information over the weekend. But what is mentioned is the fact that a cool $300,000 sits somewhere in that house just ripe for the picking.

Or at least that's what they thought.

They invade the man's house but quickly find out that their supposedly helpless victim is not so helpless after all. Trapped and unarmed, their prey suddenly becomes their predator, one that has no intention of allowing them to come out of this alive. As an elaborate game of cat and mouse ensues, they soon discover that all is not as they seem in this house and the blind man that inhabits it.

The scene in your house when you tell your dad that you'll
come home early but end up coming home drunk at 3 a.m.

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If you've seen the trailers and decided it's a movie worth your time, then you probably trooped to the cinemas expecting a heart-pounding ride. That's exactly what this movie delivers. As thrillers go, Don't Breathe doesn't really reinvent the genre. But as a horror movie, which it considers itself to be, this nail-biter definitely has a refreshing take.

We've long associated horror movies with all things demonic and terrifying like Valak from The Conjuring franchise. Most horror movies depend on long-established tropes to scare audiences out of their chairs. But Don't Breathe shows that a menacing blind man with a score to settle can be just as scary as any ghoul.

The blind man didn't know that there was somebody else
in the house so he let out a fart that smelled of death

Some audiences might appreciate the fact that it doesn't take long for the movie to get to the actual robbery itself. But I'm sure that others would find the character development of the male characters in the story to be lacking. While that may be true, I don't think it takes away anything major from what the movie has set out to accomplish. The central character in the story is, after all, Rocky played by Levy (who to me looks like the result of face swap between Kirsten Stewart and Emma Stone on Snapchat) and the movie takes its time to establish her motivations behind the robbery.

In effect, it makes you feel sorry for a character that you'd otherwise find disdainful. How can you root for someone who's trying to rob a blind man, right? Sure, her reasons and actions might seem stupid at times but they're still plausible. Being stupid and reckless is how they got into this mess in the first place.

A blind man wielding a gun is one of the most terrifying
things you'll see in a movie this year

But the real star of the movie is Stephen Lang, who plays the blind man or the movie's villain. You might remember him as that menacing Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar. Lang has long been a character actor and a role player in many movies. Don't Breathe might prove to be the most iconic and memorable role in his career. If you took the combat skills of Matt Murdock from the Daredevil series and mixed him with the ruthlessness of the Punisher, Stephen Lang's "blind man" is who you'll get.

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Don't Breathe is not a perfect movie, but it does the job it sets out to do. If you're looking for some excitement this week or a movie to keep your pulse racing and your heart pounding, you can do no worse than watching this modern take on the horror genre.

7.5/1.0 Don't Breathe is a well-crafted horror movie that will have your pulse racing all throughout its duration. I guess we'll be adding "old blind men" to the list of things that scare us from now on.


Rey de la Cruz Jr. likes talking about films as much as he likes watching them. He runs
 www.reyview.org, a site that provides Filipino moviegoers with reviews written in a voice that is uniquely Pinoy.

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