Last week the Austin Film Society screened legendary Austin film Blood Simple, the Coen Brothers’ first commercial movie. The film not only provides a glimpse of Central Texas of the past, but its noir escapades and terse action hold up well over three decades later.

In the same theatre, just a few hours earlier, the current box-office champ and heist thriller Don’t Breathe was shown. Seeing these two in succession made for a fantastic, if not altogether surprising, de facto double feature.

While Breathe situates itself nicely in the “everyone is killed off, one by one” horror genre, Blood is pure pulp noir through and through. On the other hand, Blood has one of the greatest “don’t breathe” scenes of all time (right up there with the final frame of Bladerunner). And while Breathe obviously depends on that tension-giving device, both movies manage to be more than just a director’s trick.

Don’t Breathe tells the store of three ne’er-do-well kids attempting to rob the house of an old blind man. Thing is, he’s still in the house, and once they’re discovered, the discernible sound of a breath could mean death. Or worse.

Blood Simple also involves just four main characters in a tale of betrayal and blood: the wife (played by a shockingly young Frances McDormand), her lover, the scuzzy husband, and the private eye hired to kill both lovebirds. It’s set against an Austin that’s more broadly Texan than just the state capital, and the eternal themes of desperate love and murderous betrayal play out masterfully.

In its own way, Breathe is also about place; modern-day Detroit (or at least a burned-out/Fight Club-esque version of it) sets the stage for a robbery gone wrong in which No One Can Hear You Scream. But other than as a plot device, the city takes a back seat to the action.

Both stories contain role reversals of good and evil throughout. In Breathe, greedy criminals become young adults terrorized by their would-be victim, and in Blood, the targets of assassination end up taking lives of their own. Audiences are meant to grapple with complexity in which Good Guys vs. Bad Guys falls short as a usable framework for understanding.

The true source of terror differs greatly between the two tales. With a little sister that she loves and a no-good mom that she wants to escape, Breathe’s female lead lives in a hell inside the walls of her own house that is more real and in some ways more terrifying than a night gone wrong in a stranger’s house. While in Blood, the banal daily lives of the characters are intruded upon by decisions made under the influence of jealousy and greed.

Of course, any comparison with a classic of cinema like Blood Simple and a newcomer like Don’t Breathe is destined to fall short, but if one of these movies scratches an itch, consider sitting down with the other for an experience that will make you appreciate both of them even more.

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