Browsing Tag

Don’t Breathe

Posted on January 11, 2017

Why Don’t Breathe is Way Better Than Conjuring 2

Dawn

I finally got around to watching two films that kept turning up on the best horror of 2016 lists—and while I could not agree more that Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe belongs at the top of that list, James Wan’s The Conjuring 2 shouldn’t even be up for consideration.

The only things that really excited me about Conjuring 2 were the mid-1970s English setting of the film, which felt very authentic—the clothes, the school satchels, the cars, the music, the posters of Starsky and Hutch—and the genuinely creepy nun (and, sure enough, there’s a spin-off called The Nun in the works; doesn’t anyone remember how horrible Annabelle was?). Aside from that, Conjuring 2 was a huge disappointment, and not least because it served up exactly the same plot as The Conjuring (James Wan, 2013).

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Posted on September 20, 2016

Disability in Don’t Breathe: Victim, Villain, Blind Man

Guest Post

Guest Author: Laura Kremmel

“Wait, is he blind?”

“That’s kind of fucked up to rob a blind guy, isn’t it?”

“Just ‘cause he’s blind don’t mean he’s a saint, bro.”

These opening lines summarize the plot of the 2016 box-office hit, Don’t Breathe, directed by Fede Alvarez, and this scene appears in every trailer for the film. It demonstrates a sadly common reaction and attitude towards those with visual impairments, and other disabilities: a double-take, discomfort, pity, and disengagement (or, worse, repulsion and recoil). Blindness is almost a deal-breaker for the speakers, thieves planning their next mark, and it is ironically the most ruthless of the three who exposes their assumptions with the third line.

The three thieves (Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, and Daniel Zovatto) break into the house of a man (Stephen Lang) who has received a large settlement after his daughter is killed and has hidden the cash in his dilapidated house in a deserted Detroit neighborhood. They target him for all of these reasons. The fact that he’s also a blind war vet becomes an added bonus: easy prey, if pathetic. They presume he will be an easy mark that will bring their careers as thieves to a fruitful end. However, “The Blind Man” (that’s the only name he gets) is not only capable of defending himself, but of hunting them down one by one. In the depths of his house, they discover that he’s hiding more than money. Critics are saying this twist sets the film apart, but I have no interest in discussing it here. Any other spoilers throughout this post involve the details of the film-long chase, which I don’t feel would detract from a first viewing. The film is an experience. Read more

Posted on August 29, 2016

Don’t Breathe (2016): The Politics of Justice and the Subjectivity of Victimhood

Gwen

Sometimes, I wonder if justice is blind or if it is just oblivious. In recent history, Ethan Couch received a lenient sentence after recklessly mowing down several innocent victims while intoxicated on liquor and affluenza. The former Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner received only a six month sentence after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.[i] Shortly thereafter, Indiana University frat boy John Enochs escaped two counts of felony rape with a year of probation while David Becker received two years of probation for sexually assaulting two 18 year old girls. What are the repercussions of these lenient sentences? When did it become more important to protect a perpetrator from being branded a sexual offender than to ensure justice? How is it that a judge and/or jury came to worry more about the hopeful college experience of a young college-bound Massachusetts boy over his two 18-year-old victims?

You might ask, what does this have to do with the film, Don’t Breathe (2016)…I say everything. In the wake of national outrage after these trials, Don’t Breathe brings light to what we view as justice and who is a deserving victim. By definition, a victim is “a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action”.[ii] However, in the eyes of a subjective public, being a victim of a crime does not concretely translate into victimhood as we see in Fede Alvarez’s film, Don’t Breathe. Read more

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