Horror remakes are often a target of derision within the genre community, with laments about Hollywood’s lack of originality a constant refrain from fans. Still, sometimes a remake isn’t simply a retread of what came before, and emerges as a worthwhile film in its own right. In the eyes of many, this was the case for 2013’s Evil Dead, directed by Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez and based on Sam Raimi’s 1983 classic of the same name. The film drew mostly positive reviews from both fans and critics, and earned nearly $100 million worldwide on a budget of $17 million.
Naturally, the horror faithful have been eagerly anticipating Alvarez’s follow-up ever since, which finally hits theaters later this month. Titled Don’t Breathe, the film stars Evil Dead’s Jane Levy as Rocky, a teenage delinquent who desires nothing more than to take her little sister and move away from their uncaring parents. However, to do that she’ll need money, which is where her boyfriend (Daniel Zovatto, Fear the Walking Dead) – a wannabe gangster called Money – comes in.
Money convinces Rocky to rob the house of an old blind man (Stephen Lang, Avatar) who supposedly has a ton of cash hidden in a safe somewhere within his residence. The two rope in their meek friend Alex (Dylan Minnette, Goosebumps), then head off to make the big score. Unfortunately, their chosen target is far from an easy one, and before long the trio is less concerned with getting rich and more concerned with staying alive. Sony has released a red band trailer for Don’t Breathe, which can be seen above, and it serves to illustrate the perils of not doing one’s research before attempting to commit armed robbery.
Alvarez was in some demand after the success of Evil Dead, even reportedly turning down Marvel’s offer to direct Doctor Strange, for fear of losing creative control to the gargantuan studio. Instead Alvarez chose to keep things on a smaller Evil Dead-esque scale with Don’t Breathe, another lower-budgeted horror film set mostly inside a single claustrophobic location. Bringing back former sitcom-star Levy to play the lead was an inspired choice as well, with many considering her performance to be a highlight of Evil Dead.
On the other hand, Alvarez has changed things up in the sense that the only monster in Don’t Breathe is of the all too human variety. Based on the trailers, Lang’s character is clearly a man highly skilled in the fine art of murder, although what exactly he actually does to his victims has been kept intriguingly vague in the trailers so far. As Money says, just because Lang is blind, doesn’t mean he’s a saint.
Will Don’t Breathe prove to be as big a hit as Evil Dead? Probably not, if only because the Evil Dead name carries a lot of weight among horror fans, and comes with a built-in audience. Still, there’s no reason to expect Alvarez’s latest not to carve out its own niche among this summer’s fright flicks.
Don’t Breathe stalks theaters on August 26, 2016.