There’s a scene in Don’t Breathe involving a turkey baster that is so gross and appalling, that the entire audience utters a collective “Eeeww” while squirming in their seats.
The turkey baster scene also happens to be one of director Fede Alvarez’s most proudest moments. “I have night vision videos of the audience reaction the first time we showed the movie, and their expressions during that scene are so funny. Men and women have totally different reactions. I should run it as a trailer in slow motion!” he says enthusiastically.
“The turkey baster is such a powerful weapon. You can show an audience a knife with blood and they don‘t even flinch, they don’t care. But they see the baster and they lose their minds, its explosive! Taboo goes a long way in movies.”
Alvarez, a protégé of legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi, could talk for hours about why this grotesque scene is so chilling, but to repeat them here would be to spoil the plot of what is one of the most unique horror thrillers in years.
Don’t Breathe follows a trio of friends who break into the home of a blind recluse, confident of an easy score. What could possibly go wrong?
Actress Jane Levy, who made an unforgettable turn as the demonically possessed Mia in Alvarez’s 2013 Evil Dead remake, shares the scares with Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto, while veteran actor Stephen Lang and a vicious, snarling Doberman serve as formidable adversaries.
“Fede is a total sick f–k,” laughs Lang, joining STACK as we chat with Alvarez and the cast in Los Angeles. “I prepared for the role by blindfolding myself. I went on an exploration of my apartment to see how well I knew it, and it turned out I didn’t know it nearly as well as I thought I did.”
The cast bonded quickly, working in Budapest where this particular house of horrors was erected on a film set.
“We needed to drink a lot of wine every evening to let off steam, and Dylan would play music for us,” says Levy, referring to her co-star who fronts indie rock band The Narwhals.
She still has nightmares about the dog: “There was actually two dogs. One was much friendlier and we used him a lot but the other was really mean and was trained to attack me. I kept thinking, is it going to eat me right now?”
Don’t Breathe is in cinemas now.