Parents' Guide to

Don't Breathe

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Brilliantly designed thriller weakened by heavy violence.

Movie R 2016 88 minutes
Don't Breathe Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 20 parent reviews

age 13+

Cleverly designed, intense thriller has strong violence, language and some sexual material

Don’t Breathe follows 3 friends attempting to pull a heist on a blind mans home, to realize things are not as they seem. Things turn bloody, intense and scary as the friends scatter to escape his deadly grasp while uncovering disturbing secrets from within his home. VIOLENCE: SEVERE A man attempts to poison another man sleeping in his bed, but fails. A man is suddenly pinned against a wall and choked before being shot through the bottom of his head. An up-close shot of blood spraying against the wall and through his teeth are shown before he slumps to the floor. His body is shown getting picked up and dragged away later, revealing a blood pool. Guns are shot frequently throughout, but not many shots hit. A woman is shown chained up with a mask over her face. She is let free. A man suddenly shoots another man in the ear (blood sprays up-close) before several more shots are fired offscreen. After we hear the shots, we see a woman shot through the cheek while wearing a mask, with blood pouring out of the hole and under the mask. A man is suddenly grabbed by the neck and choked violently before he shakes off the attacker. A woman falls down a chute or vent and lands on her head. She is okay, but this is intense. A man is attacked by a dog, and flies through a window and onto glass. The glass is shot, and he falls through landing on the floor. 2 men fight brutally. One man has his face smashed on a toilet, a counter and a heater before he is beaten to the ground and punched in the face violently until his face is very bloody. The attacker then picks up a large pair of shears and stabs into a body part up-close. This scene is intense and graphic. A woman is grabbed and pulled out of a vent before getting violently punched in the face. A woman is hung up to the ceiling like an animal while a man attempts to impregnate her with a turkey baster. A man is suddenly beaten on the head with a hammer offscreen. We see some blood spray onto a woman’s face. A woman is kicked and attacked on the floor before getting cuffed up. A man is suddenly shot to death, spraying out blood before he falls to the ground and dies. Shocking and quite bloody. A woman is attacked and dragged on the street. A man and woman fight as the man fires countless shots around the room shattering objects before the woman violently beats his head with a crowbar repeatedly, sending him down into the basement and leaving him in critical condition. He is seen later with an oxygen mask on. Most, if not all of the violence in the film is seen in dim lighting, which makes a small fraction of the violence hard to see, however this doesn’t make it less graphic. Despite all of this, Don’t Breathe is not as violent or bloody as it’s sequel Don’t Breathe 2. LANGUAGE: SEVERE Around 40 uses of “f*ck” and some uses of “sh*t”, “p*ssy” and others. The language in this film is quite strong throughout. SEXUAL CONTENT: MODERATE A man is shown peeing on the floor of a house while making a jerking motion. It is possible he was masturbating however it is most likely he was peeing. A sexual reference to jerking off along with a reference to oral sex with a brief hand motion. It is heavily implied a woman was impregnated with a turkey baster, and it is said she held the mans baby. In a disturbing scene, a man uses a pair of scissors to cut into a woman’s pants while she is being hung on the ceiling. After this, he approaches a thermos, which he opens to reveal semen. He sucks the semen into a turkey baster with very up close shots of the semen. He approaches her and puts the turkey baster near her crotch before he is interrupted and she is saved. After this, the woman shoves the turkey baster into the mans mouth and he coughs and spits out his own semen. This is a disturbing, and pretty graphic scene despite the woman being saved. OVERALL: 13+ for strong violence, disturbing content and images, language throughout and some sexual material

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.
age 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (20):
Kids say (38):

The first three-quarters of this simple, intense thriller are something close to masterful -- and then it goes a little too over the top, with an outlandish reveal and elements of torture and gore. Director Fede Alvarez (the 2013 Evil Dead remake), starts Don't Breathe with nary a misstep, using the desolate Detroit locations to strong effect and establishing the space of the veteran's house clearly and concisely, never resorting to shaky-cam.

Plus, the crisp sound design highlights every creak and crack of the house, without an overuse of music. Character development is slight, but at least Rocky is sympathetic, with abuse in her past and a desire to protect her daughter. And for a long time, all of this is brilliantly sustained, suggesting a trust in the audience -- but then the movie betrays that trust by unleashing a ridiculous back story for the victim, as well as unnecessarily heightened violence. A bit more thought could have made this a suspense classic, but at least it's nearly there.

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