Are there suspenseful moments? Plenty of them. Are there a few scary moments meant to make the audience jump out of their seats? Yep, two or three. Are there some plot twists designed to make audience members (both male and female) cringe and cross their legs tightly? Totally.
But is it a horror film? To my mind, no.
The most successful horror films of the past fifteen years have all had these elements. The PARANORMAL ACTIVITY movies were built around a series of families that found themselves involved with demons and cults. The FINAL DESTINATION series followed a never-ending series of teenagers trying to stay one step ahead of Death after they had mistakenly survived an event where they were supposed to die. This week, the long awaited BLAIR WITCH sequel finds yet another group of investigators plunging into the infamous Burkett Woods searching for the last party of investigators who disappeared while searching for the long rumored witch of the same name. INSIDIOUS, SINSTER, THE CONJURING and their sequels. All are horror films based around characters encountering and having to defeat a supernatural element that threatens their lives.
To my mind, what DON’T BREATHE is is an action film. Action films are generally defined as a movie that favors action scenes over characterization. The movie’s drama does not arise from the interaction between the characters but by the constant series of chases, gun battles, and cat and mouse situations the characters find themselves in. Action films are usually populated by criminals and cops seeking to solve or accomplish some kind of crime whether it is a robbery or a murder or a kidnapping. That is DON’T BREATHE to a tee. To my mind, it is an action film: a standard, suspenseful, action film with good performances and good direction and a fairly entertaining and resourceful script. Not a horror film at all.
Am I missing something? Is DON’T BREATHE a horror film or an action film? What do you think?