Fear and desperation are a lethal cocktail of emotion; fear being the bleach to desperation’s ammonia. Some cases are not as toxic as others, but when the light at the end of the tunnel begins to go dim, our baser instincts kick into overdrive. Whether you’re melting Cheez Whiz on stale saltines because you don’t have the means to make actual nachos and Walking Dead is on in two minutes so you don’t have time to go to the store, or stealing a loaf of bread to feed your family, we do what it takes to survive.
Living in a dilapidated neighborhood in Detroit, Rocky (Jane Levy), her boo-thang, Money (Daniel Zovatto), and their
third wheel friend, Alex (Dylan Minnette) spend their free time breaking into nicer homes in better areas and stealing valuables to pawn on the street. Rocky is the only breadwinner in her household and takes care of her little sister, Diddy (Emma Bercovici), while her mom and her mom’s charming beau slum about on the sofa.
When Money gets wind of a man in town sitting on a small fortune, the gang decide that they’ll have this one last hurrah and then take off for sunny California. After scoping out the joint, they learn that the owner of the home is blind.
Upon making this discovery, Money turns into Al Jolson in Bombo and decides that they’re doing it that night. Naturally, the house is locked up like Fort Knox. Money is full of brilliant, sage wisdom, but his observation on why there are, like, 16 locks on the door — because all of the money is inside, duh — is maybe his finest revelation.
After a successful entry, the three search for the stash only to find that they’ve stumbled into some Cave of Wonders shit. They’ve disturbed The Blind Man’s (Stephen Lang) slumber and will pay dearly. Though he is blind, his advantage is that all of his other senses have been expertly sharpened. His on-screen time is spent mostly sniffing, listening, and punching.
I’d tell you more about the movie, but that wouldn’t be right. There are so many buttery little nooks and crannies in this English Muffin that it needs to be savored firsthand.
That said, there are many great things that I CAN tell you. I had ample mixed emotions throughout and it just kept turning the tables. It is reminiscent — at least to this critic — of the 1986 thriller Crawlspace starring Klaus Kinski. Similar in the way that it’s this super creepy, almost super human dude chasing these kids through his house and showing up in places impossibly quickly based on where he was in the last scene, always to the delight of the crowd.
It’s got remnants of the vintage element of surprise that makes older horror movies so much better than the rubbish we mostly get these days. I read a review before I saw the film that said it’s non-stop and I thought to myself, “This shit better not stop.” and it really doesn’t! It’s a monster truck rally and The Blind Man is Truckasaurus.
There’s very little setup before we get to the meat and potatoes, so-to-speak. The character development isn’t the strongest I’ve seen, but they do a fine job in the time allotted, and it needs to be said that Stephen Lang — who doesn’t have a ton of lines — sounds like a 50/50 mix of Dieter Laser — Dr. Heiter in Human Centipede — and Christopher Walken. It’s. Amazing.
Bottom line, this movie is a fat lot of jump scares, but it is a dang fun theater experience. This was a “fingers in ears” thrill ride and I absolutely recommend catching it on the big screen. And just keep in mind that if you ever see a blind, ripped dude, you turn and run as fast as you can forever.