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Spook or Slay


Photos by Allison Stockwell

Brooklyn Terrill, who hates even being scared by her little brother, and Pauline Shaver, who spends weekends watching “American Horror Story,” review “Don’t Breathe.” This horror film follows three young thieves as they try to break into the house of a blind veteran. Not surprisingly, the veteran turns out to be a killer and chases them around his house throughout the entirety of the movie.

Pauline’s Side 

Over the last couple of years, countless horror film-filled Friday nights and a love for “American Horror Story,” have made it so scary movies don’t really phase me anymore. In fact, my newfound tendency to laugh at inappropriate times, like when some dimwitted girl named Sally gets mauled by an axe murderer, guarantees scornful glares from fellow audience members.

That’s exactly what happened when Brooklyn and I went to see the newest horror-thriller combo “Don’t Breathe.”

A good horror movie is full of suspense, guts and gore; it should have anyone watching on the edge of their seats, waiting for the next scare to make them jump out of those seats completely. Despite the fact that Brooklyn was completely petrified before we even walked through the doors of the movie theater, I was hoping for a truly terror-inducing experience. I was sadly disappointed.

At first, it wasn’t all that bad. The traditional scary stuff happened: first guy gets killed, everyone else freaks out, blah blah. The creepy blind veteran had potential — I was waiting for him to attack with a chainsaw or bloody hatchet — but he seemed a lot more partial to a handgun, a substantially less gorey weapon of choice.

Around the third or fourth escape attempt, I sunk into a deep state of boredom. The element of surprise is essential to any horror movie, and not only were there a minimal amount of plot twists in “Don’t Breathe,” they were all completely predictable.

The old blind man thwarted each and everyone one of the two remaining robbers’ getaway plans, which instead of being alarming, was highly irritating. When he started to smell around for them in extremely exaggerated sniffs, I became dangerously close to laughing.

Several times, I glanced over at Brooklyn, hoping maybe to see a similar note of exasperation at the uninspired storyline. Instead I saw a wide-eyed, horrified expression half-hidden behind a giant bucket of popcorn. So much for that.

Not only was the story lacking in the requirements for a good horror film, but also for a movie in general. Somehow, I don’t think anyone is entertained by watching the same thing happen over and over again. I certainly wasn’t.

Brooklyn’s Side 

I walked into Cinemark clutching my bag, regretting even coming into the theater. I had bought a ticket to “Don’t Breathe,” which was not my idea of a perfect evening. I hate horror. Even going to Worlds of Fun around Halloween is out of my box, so when I agreed to watch this thriller with Pauline, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy myself.

I got what was coming to me. For most of the film I hid behind my popcorn, watching three people attempt to break into the house of a blind veteran. Following the plot was difficult because my eyes were tucked behind my knees. Whether it was good or not, I was too scared to care about the actual content. All I wanted to do was run out of the theater. Pauline, however, stared at the screen blankly, occasionally checking her phone.

Each time the thieves began their many escape attempts and ventured into new parts of the house, I tensed up, knowing something awful was coming. Hiding in a room full of tools and other sharp objects couldn’t possibly have a happy ending. Neither could fumbling around in a pitch black basement.

Everytime the characters would run, hide, get caught, almost killed and then escape again, I would clutch my popcorn tighter. All I wanted was for the credits to roll, so this repetitiveness only prolonged my already awful experience.

By the time the last girl escaped the house, I was relieved that the other people with her had already died. No longer could anyone be killed or scared, including me. Finally, the movie came to a close, and my terror was over.

I went into the movie thinking I was making a mistake and came out feeling the exact same way. Those 88 dread-filled minutes, spent clutching onto my seat, were a mistake. I don’t think that horror movies will ever be my first choice for a Friday night.

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