Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Fede Alvarez's, Don't Breathe

of 8 viewers "Liked" "Don't Breathe" (USA, 2016)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

The Impostor - "Fede Alvarez is back in the director's chair three years since the solid 2013 solid remake of the Evil Dead. Alvarez has made his mark in this genre of film-making. Don't Breathe is incredibly intense; there were moments I had to hold my own breath. Once the film gets going it's nonstop for its entire run time, like a roller-coaster of unstoppable tension. I loved the way the film plays out more visually as opposed to verbally. Beautifully shot in every scene, the house feels like a character of its own which I found pretty cool. Overall amazing film from beginning to end. I'd recommend knowing as little as possible. Just grab your popcorn and enjoy." - 6 Stars (counts as 5)

Dabbles - "The title says it all and explains it all. I was left holding my breath a lot during this movie, and every jump scare or suspenseful moment really did keep you moving. Characters really are the product of their environment; if you have heard the podcast, you would know that KillDozer had some pretty harsh opinions about this movie. I could understand why he said some things, but in my opinion it didn't really take away from the movie at all, it actually helped it move around. I'm not a horror fan, or even have the depth of knowledge of horror that Lord Battle or KillDozer have about movies, but from hanging around them, I have learned that horror has always been in this phase I would relate to in the late 90's Hip Hop scene, where producers would sample beats melodies or even other types of mediums to perfect their art. And just like with horror movies, there were either purists who believed that whoever made it was blatantly ripping off the originals, and there were futurists who saw that they were subtle about it and created something relateable for the times. But it all became about perspective. And in my perspective, this is one movie that could help the genre move on, combining some ideas from old to new, and helping people re-appreciate the ones that came before it. Maybe even re-watch the ones that came before it. But one thing I wish to dabble in is to figuring out what camera they used for the look I call "blind vision." It looked soo good. Watch the movie to know what I mean." - 4 Stars

KillDozer - "Fede Alvarez the talented director of the surprisingly amazing Evil Dead (2013) brings us his highly anticipated first "original" full length film. Knowing full well what the film was about I still had high hope and was extremely excited to see it. I can honestly say that I have walked into a lot of movie theaters, knowing that I was sitting down to visit familiar territory but hoping it would be presented in a fun new way. With that being said it was no surprise to me that the set up of the film reminded me of films like The Collector, and The People Under The Stairs. The characters were well written and well played by all actors involved. Alvarez does a decent job of explaining why we should care for these bad people doing these bad things but in my opinion didn't do it in a way that had me hoping they would make it through unscathed. I felt as though I was being served with cliche after cliche with everything from trapped in a car with a mad dog outside (CUJO), to turn off the lights so the blind have the upper hand (Blind Alleys). What was the worst part for me as the viewer was not caring about any of the "victims" and not seeing anything original so that my experience was boring and dull. I would gladly recommend this film to anyone who is not a fan of the genre, but for those who expect more this film will only disappoint with its multiple would be endings and sorry attempt at a twist that is given away seconds into the film. As strange as it sounds this is a bad movie done well especially when it comes to sound so if you do see this please see it in a theatre!" - 2 Stars (for great acting, directing and sound but not collection worthy and another reminder not to fall for the hype because most new amazing horror films will never see an actual theatre screen so go find them!!!)

The Berkeley Blazer - "When this movie began I could not identify with anyone, and by the end of the film I felt sympathy for everyone. The process of this transition is a marvel to watch from a film-making perspective, the visual wood is under tight control and since you aren't necessarily rooting for anyone you can enjoy the portrayal of an intriguing situation. Far too much is made of the idea of film being a visual medium that should be told through the eyes, but the lack of dialog and robust camera expression really is impressive, it is a treat to watch this cast of antagonists try to out gun, out man, out maneuver, out plan each other in a blind man's hellish sandbox. This movie isn't cathartic or exhilarating, but it's pretty damn satisfying, especially if you're a cinephile." - 4 Stars

Lord Battle - "No matter how much this film may feel like a poignant high-brow portrayal of a millennials struggle to escape Detroit, Fede Alvarez will make it very clear that this is a horror film made by a horror fan. Now let's just hope it gets a rad Bluray release like Evil Dead did." - 4.5 Stars

Huntress - "I’ve never seen a single house be so confusing and maze-like, while managing to feel extremely claustrophobic at the same time, but the blind man’s house in Don’t Breathe pulled it off. Even with the Hitchcockian establishing shot, which showed us most of the key elements of the setting early into the film, I never really felt like I knew the house, and I took that as being because it wasn’t a place we were supposed to get friendly with. The casting in this movie was perfect, Stephan Lang easily being the stand out role. Don’t Breathe was difficult in the best way; I never felt like the story took the easy way out, which initially left me feeling unhappy with certain parts of it, but I think a debatable film is better than a predictable one." -4 Stars

Math Mage - "Most threatening turkey baster ever." - 4 Stars

Clark Little - "Every character in the film reeks of desperation and wants a way out of their current situation. This is the driving force of this film, along with the looming, moral ambiguity that keeps the viewer invested in this bizarre, yet relatable universe."-4 Stars

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

I'm going to keep this wrap-up short as I'd like people to weigh in on the Homage vs Theft discussion that's been going on for a couple weeks now between KillDozer and I (Checkout The Overlook Hour Ep 1).
The Alamo post-screening show featured Robert Rodriguez interviewing Fede Alvarez (our audio recording below) who expressed Hitchcock as a major influence for Don't Breathe. The example he talked about explained why none of the characters are good people. Sighting films like Strangers on a Train and Psycho.
My personal favorite Hitchcockian touch that appears in Don't Breathe would have to be the McGuffin. In Fede's film we get to see what is perhaps the most popular McGuffin of all, money, actually find a home. I can't explain how cathartic this was for me. I mean how many movies leave the leather bag full of money hidden somewhere for Kumiko to find? Seriously, just think about it.

Image result for kumiko the treasure hunter map
Map to Fargo Treasure

Whether you call it homage or a ripoff art is always influenced by art, subconsciously or not. Below are trailers for several of the films that had an impact one way or another on the inception of Fede Alvarez's Don't Breathe.

Wait Until Dark

The People Under The Stairs

The Collector


Robert Rodriguez interviewing Don't Breathe director Fede Alvarez.

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre materialized in the New Misson Theatre for an early screening on  8/18/2016 and then reappeared on 8/25/2016 at Tanforan Centery for a second viewing.
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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