The first 70 minutes of this movie are excellent. The sound design is impeccable. Stephen Lang’s physical performance is incredibly menacing. The concept is used cleverly, especially during a beautifully shot basement sequence in which the tables are turned on our young robbers. The icing on the cake: a tracking shot early in the movie that lays out where everything is in the house and gives us a sense of the space that’s available. We know, for the most part, exactly what these characters are getting themselves into, and that makes what follows even more effective.
The movie crackles with tension, and it joins Green Room, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Invitation, and Hush as fine examples this year of high intensity movies set in enclosed spaces. I’m a sucker for these types of stories, so I’ll gladly see anything of the sort that looks mildly interesting. However, though this is stronger overall than the latter two I mentioned, it has the weakest ending of them all (yes, I enjoyed the ending of 10 Cloverfield Lane). I don’t want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say that the movie becomes repetitive. The last set of scenes seem unnecessary and lose a lot of the intensity of the setup, and they threaten to take you right out of the story that the earlier acts so deftly threw you into.
Photo credit: Don’t Breathe, Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films