Please welcome our next debuting contributor, Ashley Kinnison! If that name sounds familiar, it’s because there are 3 different members of the Kinnison clan joining us for this year’s series. Seriously, folks! These people are multiplying at an exponential rate. Don’t be surprised if there are 7 of them taking place in next year’s series. They’re like rabbits!

For her series debut, Ashley will be taking a look at the newest film in this year’s line up: 2016’s Don’t Breathe. Much like the other entries in this year’s roster of films, she presents her case for why she considers the film to be a modern “classic”. If you are unfamiliar with the film, consider this piece to be both an introduction and a recommendation.

Ashley herself admits to being a newer fan to the genre of horror. Hey, we all were at some point in time. Maybe that is one of the perks of a series like this. It places all of the contributors on an even playing field, regardless of how big of a fan they are or for how long.

There is nothing a man cannot do once he accepts the fact that there is no god.

-Blind Man

In the 2016 film Don’t Breathe, the audience is introduced to three young adults robbers; Rocky, Alex, and Money. Catching wind of a blind man living alone in an abandoned neighborhood and sitting on 300k, they decide that this will be the perfect last heist to pull before moving to California. Little do they know, they are being watched without eyes physically seeing them. The blind man lurks in the dark with only his four other senses, knowing exactly what is going on.

Having underestimated the blind man, the three robbers are in for a gruesome and terrifying reality check. No god can help them. Now, they are forced to rely on their basic instincts to survive. Not as easy to do as they presumed.

Failing to escape the prison of the blind man’s house, the female lead (Rocky) is captured and forcefully restrained in the basement in a makeshift padded room. The blind man seeks revenge (and) to replace his recently deceased child. Rocky is held accountable and made to be the replacement. With a turkey baster full of the blind man’s semen, he hears no mercy for Rocky’s cries to God. Will insemination be inevitable for Rocky, or will she escape the horrific fate with the 300k?

When I first started viewing the film, I thought, “this is going to be another horror film where the director/writer (Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues) threw something together, and will not be that scary.” Fortunately, I could not have been more wrong! After introducing how the robbers come from broken homes, and finally getting into the blind man’s residence, my heart begins to race. My anxiety peaks and my gut wrenches for the remainder of the film.

I have watched Don’t Breathe more than twenty times. Yet every time, I am either intrigued with how Fede planned each scene to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, or I am just completely shocked with the blind man’s ability to outsmart the robbers. The man is an Army veteran who was blinded by shrapnel, yet he does not let his blindness be his handicap. He can see through the darkness to capture each intruder. This puts me in a state of awe, mesmerized by his memory of his house.

I lived in Gonzalez, Louisiana for a short period of time. While I was there, I decided it would be fun to walk through the graveyard alone. I always had a sense of being watched as I stepped lightly through the grassy pathway, between each mausoleum. I could hear a deep voice ask me if I was lost because I didn’t sound like I was from around there. When I finally saw who was talking to me, it was a blind heavyset black man. I asked him how he knew I was not from the area, and his reply was, “You don’t smell like the folks around here.” With this personal experience, I can feel the fear the characters endure throughout the film.

Another thing that caught my attention is comparing how differently people can grieve. Normal people will go through the seven stages of grief. Shock/denial, pain/guilt, anger/bargaining, depression/loneliness, upward turn, working through, and acceptance. With the blind man, he never worked past the third stage of anger and bargaining. He decides to seek revenge and fix the situation. If this were me, I would plot revenge on the person who took my daughter so suddenly, but I would also move on and never act on how twisted and demented my revenge would be.

Overall, what makes me so passionate about this film, is how it keeps my anxiety and adrenaline pumping throughout. That feeling I get when there is an aching and fierce feeling inside my gut. The way my body nervously awaits what will happen next.  Fede did an amazing job putting together both the details to help the storyline play out and the cinematic features to complement. I would highly recommend Don’t Breathe, and not for the first time.