One of the most nerve-shredding horror movies of recent years is on TV tonight
Are you afraid of the dark?
A lot of great horror movies work because a simple, killer premise – and 2016’s Don’t Breathe, which is on Film4 on Monday at 9pm, is no different.
Essentially, the set-up is this: a trio of street kids hear that a blind, reclusive army veteran (Stephen Lang) is hoarding $300,000 in cash in his house. They plan to break in and steal it – how hard can it be to burgle a blind old man, right?
Only, it turns out that his lack of sight has only heightened his other senses, particularly his hearing, to almost superhuman levels. He also installed a high-tech security system that locks the place down and cuts out the lights as soon as he notices the intruders. Now, in pitch black and the playing field evened out, the kids desperately try to stay silent and escape as the trained killer who thrives in darkness starts to pick them off.
It is an incredibly tight, tense movie that just does not let up once the set-up is out of the way, and the action is in motion. Director Fede Álvarez (who also made the underrated Evil Dead remake) does a phenomenal job with the special geography. When the kids enter the house, we get a long single take going through every room, showing us where everything is, almost like a level intro in a video game. This means that the audience always knows where the characters are at any one point. It is a very underappreciated skill to handle the action this well, but is vital when most of the film takes place in a single two-storey building.
The other ace the film has up its sleeve is Stephen Lang. Character actor Lang is probably best known as the brutal army colonel, and he plays a variant of the same character here (only living modestly in Detroit instead of being in space). Lang has incredible presence and is utterly terrifying. It is a massive, career-best performance from the veteran actor, managing to convincingly convey the sense that this man cannot see, but also in complete control of his situation.
Halfway through, the film does take a weird twist, that we should warn you, does veer into quite icky territory and will turn some viewers off. But apart from that, it is a thoroughly enjoyable, scary ride that is definitely worth streaming if you didn’t see it in the cinemas.
Don't Breathe is on Film4, Monday, 9pm.