A group of friends and a resort so remote that when you arrive your car is running on fumes. It’s a movie set-up that means you can almost hear the machete being sharpened. And yet, Don’t Blink is not a slasher. No one gets decapitated, and the masked stranger stalking the woods is on holiday. Instead, this group of friends begins to slowly disappear. The second you take your eyes off someone they blink out of existence. Why? No one knows.
Released in 2014, Don’t Blink appears to have come and gone without so much as a boo to the cinema going audience. Look it up, and you’ll find a Wikipedia page and a few middling reviews but that aside, it stands alongside a thousand other forgotten films; which is quite frankly a bit unfair. Don’t Blink may not be perfection but there is a nice idea here, and it is well executed.
The nice idea being that no one gets executed. This is a horror movie that’s all about the slow build. From the second our group of friends arrive at the resort you know something is wrong. The place is freakishly quiet, and half eaten meals litter the restaurant. It’s like everyone up and scarpered without even stopping to grab a bag.
Which makes for an eerie start, for the first hour or so of this film, it sets out to build a tense and unsettling atmosphere. We all know something bad is happening, but we don’t know what and it leaves you watching the fringes of the screen for a monster or big bad that will never come.
It also feels a bit like a Dr Who episode, which is 100% mean a compliment. You could picture the Doctor and his latest assistant beaming in and explaining all this away as some rare alien lifeform. He’d lose a few of them, but he’d save the majority before whizzing away to the next adventure.
Except here, the Dr doesn’t turn up. This film is in no hurry to explain what is going on and it leaves you with a sense of dissatisfaction. The ending will split people. For some, being left with a mystery is enough to have their brains a tingling while others will be disgruntled at the lack of a closure. The truth is somewhere in the middle. The end maintains a sense of mystery, but it also leaves you with the impression that the filmmakers didn’t really know how to finish it so just slipped out without explaining more.
Despite that Don’t Blink is one of those little-hidden gems. The kind of horror film you throw on to pass the time and end up strangely gripped by. The acting is occasionally wooden, and it was apparently made for the movie equivalent of a bag of penny chews and an ice cream cone but by nailing that claustrophobic atmosphere Don’t Blink makes sure that it lingers in your mind much longer than it has any right to do.
Verdict: Hall of Fame