To borrow a few terms from Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel, “A Clockwork Orange,” what happens when two droogs and a devotchka spot a dedoochka and decide that they’ve found an easy mark, especially so since their prey is blind? Of course, the next step is for them to make their plans to crast him; that is to “rob” him.
So why the gibberish in the lead up to the news that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has selected Nov. 29 as the release date for DVD and Blu-ray editions of writer/director Fede Alvarez’s blockbuster thriller, Don’t Breathe?
For the record, the ARR for Don’t Breathe comes in at 95 days and domestic ticket sales were a sizzling $88.2 million.
Burgess described a society — a near-future society — that was nominated by disaffected youth, who were prone to violence. Don’t Breathe is a story about three young people, petty criminals, who are prone to violence and when they spot their “mark,” it’s as if Alex and his mates have come full circle to their easy “mark” so many years ago … the home of the “cat lady.”
Hell, even one of the characters in Don’t Breathe is named Alex … and their easy mark turns out to be no easy mark at all as their home-invasion robbery also goes horribly wrong. And one more little parallel … the ruins of Detroit’s many abandoned neighborhoods (just glimpsed here) could easily substitute for the slums that Alex and his droogs roam in search of things to do.
These slight parallels end there as Alvarez’s tale of misguided youth focuses on the violence of a single evening, with no broad context of an entire society come unhinged.
Alex (Dylan Minnette — Goosebumps, Prisoners, etc.) and Money (Daniel Zovatto — It Follows) are our two droogs, while Rocky (Jane Levy — as Mia in Alvarez’s 2013 reboot of Evil Dead) is the devotchka of the story. They, like Alex (Malcolm McDowell), become anti-heroes as the story develops … and it is one sweet story that Alvarez delivers here.
The trio survive by breaking into homes, stealing what they can and selling it. It’s a risky proposition that offers little in the way of a future and only meager profits. Rocky wants to pull together enough to escape with her sister to the golden state of California and this could be that score that makes that possible. It is rumored that their “mark,” Norman, the blind guy (Stephen Lang — Avatar, Gods and Generals), received a significant cash settlement for some car accident that claimed the life of his daughter.
Once inside the house the horror begins. Norman is blind, but lethal and he has his secrets — some pretty BIG secrets (hint: don’t go in the basement) — and these three thieves turn out to be no match for him.
Don’t Breathe is one of the best mixed-genre thrillers (part suspense and part haunted house horror tale) of the year and it certainly gives filmmaker Fede Alvarez plenty of options going forward.
As to bonus materials, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has included a commentary track featuring Alvarez, co-writer Rodo Sayagues and actor Stephen Lang, plus there are deleted scenes (with commentary) and five featurettes — “No Escape,” “Creating the Creepy House,” “Meet the Cast,” “Man in the Dark” and “The Sounds of Horror.”