Running Time: 88 mins.
Premise: A trio of small-time thieves decide to break into an old blind man's house in an abandoned, rundown area of Detroit, and quickly find the tables turned on them, when the Blind Man (Avatar's Stephen Lang) viciously defends his home (and the secret in his basement).
Behind-the-Scenes: Co-writer/director Fede Alvarez previously worked with leading lady Jane Levy (Suburgatory ) on his first film, 2013's remake of The Evil Dead. The original Evil Dead's director, Sam Raimi, produced that one and is a producer on this film as well.
The Good: This is an intense, white-knuckled and - yes - breathless home invasion thriller that will leave you utterly exhausted and exhilarated by the end. I've never seen an audience so quiet as they were watching certain scenes in this movie. Alvarez does a fantastic job early on of setting up certain items and features of the house that come into play later. The camera movement is fluid and relentless, covering every nook and cranny of the house. Lang is a force to be reckoned with as the Blind Man. He is committed, disturbing and deeply scary, but even when the movie threatens to turn him into pure evil, he imbues his character with enough emotional complexity to, if not sympathize with him, at least understand him. Levy is equally good as the thief turned victim and ultimate heroine. The scares are plentiful and well-earned.
The Bad: There are some third act twists that significantly raise the stakes, but do so in an almost comically disgusting manner that seems out of line with what's come before. The Blind Man owns a Rottweiler that "doggedly" (pun!) pursues and attacks the thieves to a ludicrous degree. Seriously, that dog should just join forces with the shark from The Shallows.
Should You See It?: Yes, if you're brave enough. It's an expertly made genre flick that delivers on its premise and then some.
Star Rating: **** out of 5 stars.
Better Than: Panic Room, Hush
Worse Than: Wait Until Dark
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