Don’t Breathe (2016)

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After the terrific reimagining (it’s not a remake!) of Evil Dead (2013), Fede Alvarez is back with Don’t Breathe, a claustrophobic, edge of your seat thriller in which, you quickly realise, you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

I have been cautious of blind people ever since 1998 when the man, who I believed to be the “local blind guy,” gave me the fingers from his window as I sat across the street. It turned out that he wasn’t blind at all and I had totally confused myself, but the wary caution still exists! Don’t Breathe kicks off with a wide shot of a run down, neglected street in Michigan. As the camera slowly pans in, we see a foreboding figure of a man slowly make his way along the road, dragging a young girl behind him, beaten and terror stricken. It acts as a little precursor, readying the audience for the possible brutality that lies ahead and it works beautifully. Bringing us back to the present day, we’re introduced to three mid-twenties kids as they break into a well furnished, wealthy home. Rocky, played excellently by Jane Levy (Evil Dead), Alex (Dylan Minnette – Goosebumps) and Money (Daniel Zovatto – It Follows) are petty thieves, stealing from homes which fall under the surveillance of Alex’s father’s security firm. After a tip off, promising a substantial sum of money, the trio decide to break into the home of a blind (really blind, not like the guy in 1998) Gulf War veteran, played by Stephen Lang (Avatar) in a shining performance that I believe may be the best of his long career. Rocky, Alex and Money soon learn that the job isn’t going to be as easy as it initially seemed when the blind prey quickly becomes predator.

You’ve all heard the rhyme “Three Blind Mice,” well Alvarez turns it on it’s head, pitting the three well-sighted mice against the bigger, stronger (albeit blind) cat in a tense, gripping and often brutal game of cat and mouse. With 90% of the film taking place inside a dimly lit, locked house, with almost zero ways of escape, Don’t Breathe manages to feel very claustrophobic at times, excellently adding to the ever building tension of the audience as they try and cling on to any shred of hope that some good will, surely, come out of the situation they are bearing witness to.

Don’t Breathe has it’s fair share of jump scares, some which may be seen as a little on the cheap side and some of which are executed perfectly. However, the sound production is really where this film shines. Lengthy periods of silence, with the occasional atmospheric drone is a refreshing approach in modern horror and allows the film to avoid the tired cliché of eerie music playing as a scare looms, obviously, closer. Also, as the Gulf War veteran is totally without sight, the silence illustrates that his other senses are heightened, having him (and the audience) listen out for even the slightest sound of breathing creates a new level of danger for the prey. Perhaps their biggest danger, however, is that they all have Samsung phones. That shit is definitely going to catch fire when they least expect it!

With stellar performances from Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Stephen Lang, Don’t Breathe is a highlight of horror cinema this year. It’s clever, twisted and is sure to have even the sternest horror hound getting a little white around the knuckles. Fede Alvarez has shown again that, although he is still relatively new to the Director’s chair, he has the ability to give us something refreshing and brutal each time. Unlike our antagonist, I await Alvarez’s next project with eager eyes.

The Walking Dead S7 ‘Sneak Peek’

This post will contain opinions that could be considered *SPOILERS*

Season 7 of The Walking Dead is but two weeks away and FOX have released a ‘sneak peek‘.

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I have just watched it, and I feel sort of let down. Let me start with the highlights. The Walking Dead is back and that is fantastic. Negan is bad ass. Rick tries to stay bad ass, but is shown to be very weak in comparison, at this moment which will be a very interesting character arc throughout the season.

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Here’s where I am let down. This peek hints heavily that Daryl is the one who meets Lucille. Negan says he’d be lost without his “right hand man” and this suggests Daryl as we know his place in the group. Though on the flip side, does Negan know the relationship between Rick and Daryl? Is he referring to Abraham here as they were together when Negan got there? There is a theory online the the young girl Enid is a spy for the Saviours (Negan’s ‘gang’), but I personally don’t see that storyline tying in with the Enid we have already seen in season 5 and 6. However it is entirely possible that someone has spied on our group enough to know who’s who.

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Strong hint number two comes in the final shot. Rick is dragged into the RV, showing Negans strength over the situation. It reduces our hero to a petulant child or misbehaving animal bein dragged to the naughty step. If this scene makes season 7, my theory is Rick can kiss a hand goodbye.

I digress, let’s get back to the Daryl hint. With the final wide shot of the RV and the camera panning to the ground to show the deceased’s pool of blood, what we can see is a blanket, and if you recall, Daryl was covered in a blanket due to the injuries he sustained at the end of season 6. Again, if the blanket on the ground makes it to the show it could be from Daryl throwing it to the ground in protest of a friend being murdered. All possibilities will have been considered.

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As big shows like this are inclined to do, this sneak peak could be a massive red herring. It could contain dialogue that won’t appear in the show. The creators are definitely smart enough to put false clues in to trip up eagle eyed viewers, and they definitely have thought out every possible angle and potential spoiler before releasing a sneak peek. They will have someone dedicated to monitoring the online buzz and will play into that.

They have also more than likely filmed different versions of who gets the bat. I think all we can conclude for definite is that someone will die. One predicition I will put my name to, it will be a male who doesn’t see season 7, and one thing that is 100% true.

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I can’t fucking wait for October 24th!

Wolf Creek

Australia, where no one can hear you scream.

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It would take you 40 hours of continuous driving to get from one side to the other, and the majority of the country is nature. A haven for tourists and backpackers and world adventurers. The people have a great sense of humour and enjoy a beer. It sounds like heaven on earth. Unless you run into one of the few more than unhinged inhabitants down under.

By now, you should all be familiar with Mick Taylor, the fictional serial killer based on Australia’s backpack murderer, Ivan Milat, who killed seven people between 1990 and 1996. Mick Taylor, you’ll recognise from Wolf Creek 1 & 2, played outstandingly by John Jarratt and again in the six part mini series of the same name, “Wolf Creek”, and that is what we will be discussing here.

Let’s get the best part of the show for me out of the way first. The theme tune. A creepy and hauntingly brilliant rendition of an old kids rhyme, “Who killed Cock Robin?”, by Lisa Salvo. It’s only 1 minute long but it creates such a lasting memory and I still sing it today. Now, to the show.

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Episode one starts with a bang. We are introduced to our family. Mum, dad, son and daughter. The family is headed by two US cops traveling through Aus in an RV, experiencing the outback and taking a well earned break. The youngest child, the boy, is a typical pre adolescent, trying to show his dad he’s a man. The girl, is a stereotypical 17 year old. Moody and in a huff because she’s on vacation and not with her friends back home.

As they are enjoying a beer by the campfire, they are joined by Mick, who just happens to pass by. Just like in the original movie, this exchange begins innocently enough and then boom. The family are all dead. All except our moody teen who was sulking in the RV with the headphones in. She susses out the situation and makes a run for it, is shot in the back and when Mick can’t see her body, is left for dead.

I’ll keep the spoilers to minimum from now on. The teen, Eve, is our protagonist and we follow her transition through these six episodes, physically, literally and emotionally. This seventeen year old spoiled American girl really steps up the 1990s Barbara badass morph very quickly. She drops the headphones and picks up the guns. Cuts her hair and gets a dog. Upsets a lot of dangerous SOA / Crocodile Dundee types and also becomes an underwear waitress. All while looking for Mick.

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Like I said, Australia is a big place, so looking for one person is a complete needle in the bush. Exactly how long Eve has spent down under on the hunt, but it is long enough to get a job, a flatmate and create a reputation among the locals.

Throughout the episodes, we follow Eve on a few adventures and some very unrealistic situations involving Australia’s biker gangs. However while far fetched, the outcome does make sense in the universe this series creates.

One thing, every outlaw we meet is a dead ringer for Tom Hardy in Mad Max and this can make it hard to tell them apart if you watch episodes one week at a time. Some of these Tom Hardys leave very quickly and it can feel like rushed or lazy writing.

Let’s head toward the culmination of the series, and the inevitable climax. We’ve been watching Eve stalk and hunt Mick for six hours, and if after all the trouble he gets the better of her, we would walk away disappointed and angry. However, if this young girl manages to over power Mick fahking Taylor, would you believe it?

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The creators head somewhere down the middle and allow successful closure for Eve while keeping their eyes on the franchise. While this doesn’t make full sense, it sort of has to happen as there is a somewhat trailer for Wolf Creek 3 out in the Internet for anyone to view.

The acting in this series is fantastic. John Jarratt turns a brilliant performance in the character he has perfected over time. Lucy Fry, the Aussie actress plays a convincing American, and a very convincing girl on a mission. Eve’s transformation into the strong girl she becomes is the true reason for the show. While the movies are horrors, the show is a tense thriller. A character development within Mick’s world.

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If you enjoyed the movies, like stunning visuals of vast Australian landscapes and love an accent then binge watch this show right now. I can’t end without saying, “that ain’t a knife….”