To be honest, I’m probably being a bit too glib when I say that the fearsome blind kidnapper and murderer at the center of the original Don’tBreathe is now a hero. Though it appears that he’s now the hero based on what we see in the trailer for Don’t Breathe 2, it could just be a case where he’s a bad guy battling other bad guys.
At least, I hope that’s the case because, seriously, we all remember the turkey baster!
I really liked the first Don’t Breathe. I have to admit that I was kind of hoping that it would be one of those great thrillers that would never get a sequel because the first one pretty much worked because Stephen Lang’s character was a unique and unexpected villain. My feeling was that subsequent appearances by the character would only serve to make him less menacing. Though it looks like the film’s well-produced and Stephen Lang kicks all sorts of ass, the trailer for Don’t Breathe 2 still feels more like a sequel to Gran Torino than a sequel to the original Don’t Breathe. Let’s hope I’m wrong on that!
Don’t Breathe 2 will be released on August 13th, at which point we’ll see what’s going on.
With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.
(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)
Here are the 2016 Seattle Film Award Nominees! I don’t know what the cat’s yawning about; these nominations are actually an interesting mix of the usual suspects (Moonlight, Manchester, La La Land) and a few unexpected but intriguing picks (like 13th and The Witch).
Lion La La Land
Best Song “City of Stars” (La La Land)
“How Far Will I Go” (Moana)
“I See Victory” (Hidden Figures)
“The Great Beyond” (Sausage Party)
“Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song) (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping)
The members of the Phoenix Film Critics Circle challenge their rival in the Phoenix Film Critics Society.
Here are the nominees of the Phoenix Critics Circle, who should not be mistaken for the Phoenix Film Critics Society. Do the Circle and the Society have regular rumbles, like the Sharks and the Jets? I’d like to think that they do.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association have announced their nominees for the 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards and here they are! Once again, in a pattern that will probably see repeated several times of this next month, the nominations were dominated by Moonlight, La La Land, and Manchester By The Sea.
FILM NOMINATIONS FOR THE 22ND ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS
I’m currently on vacation but don’t worry! I would never let a little thing like taking some time off get in the way of reviewing movies here on the Shattered Lens. (Especially not when we’re in the middle of our annual Horrorthon!)
Before we left Dallas, Jeff and I finally saw Don’t Breathe. It’s hard for me to explain why it took me so long to see Don’t Breathe. Ever since I first saw the trailer this summer, I had been excited about eventually getting to watch it. When the first few positive reviews started to come in, I got even more excited. Everything I heard about Don’t Breathe made it sound like this was a film that was specifically made for enjoyment.
But then the film was actually released and it was just so damn popular. It was number one at the box office. It got great word of mouth. People on twitter wouldn’t shut up about how scary it was and how much they loved it. While I realize that this actually says a lot more about me than it does about the state of current American cinema, there was a part of me that started to think, “How good could it be if everyone else loves it?” Traditionally, the best horror films have always struggled to find an audience. Whenever the majority automatically embraces any work of art, that’s usually not a good sign.
And so, I put off seeing Don’t Breathe. I decided to wait until it was a little less popular. I didn’t want to have to watch this film surrounded by a bunch of people who didn’t know names like Argento, Fulci, and Rollin so I waited until the showings would be a little less packed. Finally, last Tuesday, I saw Don’t Breathe.
Seriously — what was I thinking waiting so long?
Like almost all recent independent horror films, Don’t Breathe takes place in Detroit and the first few minutes of the film are dedicated to giving us a tour of a city in decline. As we stare at the collapsing buildings, the potholed streets, and the desolate lots of overgrown weeds, we’re forced to consider whether any cinematic horrors could possibly match the horrors of real life.
Those establishing shots of Detroit are important for another reason. They also provide all the motivation that our three protagonists need. All we have to do is look at the landscape and we understand why they’re so desperate to find something better in life. (And, of course, you can’t find something better unless you have the money to look…) Rocky (Jane Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette), and Money (Daniel Zovatto) make their living breaking into houses and selling what they steal. Money is their leader. Alex’s father owns a home security company, which gives Alex access to everyone’s security code. (Of course, Alex’s main motivation is that he’s in love with Rocky.) As for Rocky, she’s just trying to raise enough money so that she and her younger sister can escape to California.
Money is given a tip about a blind army veteran (Stephan Lang) who apparently has $30,000 stored in his home. (He won the money in a court settlement after his daughter was killed by a rich girl who was driving drunk.) The veteran is the last remaining resident of an otherwise deserted neighborhood. He spends all of his time in his large but dilapidated house, apparently living with only a viscous guard dog. Money figures that all they have to do is drug the dog and then they can break into the house and steal everything that they need. Money assures the hesitant Alex that it’ll be easy because the man’s blind and he really doesn’t need the cash anyway.
Of course, it doesn’t quite work out like that. The three of them get into the house pretty easily but getting out proves to be much more difficult. And when the man wakes up and hears his house being broken into, he turns out to be far more formidable and much more dangerous than any of them thought.
About halfway through Don’t Breathe, there’s a big twist that I didn’t care much for. As played by Stephen Lang, the blind man was already intimidating enough without turning him into a Saw-style super villain. But, even with that in mind, Don’t Breathe works. It’s a relentless and well-directed thrill ride, with the camera freely roaming through that deserted house and the cast all giving good and believable performances.
Ultimately, the film is dominated by Stephen Lang. Lang is one of those good actors who never seems to get the roles that he deserves. (He was in Avatar but, in that film, he was 1) saddled with a bad accent, 2) had to recite some of the most melodramatic dialogue ever written, and 3) was stuck playing a character who was so thinly drawn that it’s a stretch to say he was even one-dimensional.) When you first see the man, your natural instinct is to feel sorry for him. He’s blind, he’s got a tragic backstory, and now he’s got three people trying to rob him. That’s why it’s such a shock when you first discover just how dangerous and evil he actually is. Lang transforms the man into one of the most memorable monsters of this very monstrous year.
So, if you haven’t seen Don’t Breathe, go see it. Don’t let the fact that its popular scare you off.
When I first read that Don’t Breathe caused quite a stir at SXSW earlier this year, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. Trust me for I am from Texas and I have spent a lot of time in Austin and I know of what I speak: it’s not that hard to create a stir in Austin. In fact, the main appeal of Austin is that practically everything leads to a stir.
But then I watched the trailer and wow, is it intense! The film tells the story of three teenagers who make the mistake of attempting to rob a blind man. The blind man is played by Stephen Lang and, considering that his character was one of the worst things about Avatar, it’s kind of nice to see that Lang may have finally gotten a role worthy of his menacing talent.