HeWhoCanDigIt’s review published on Letterboxd:
Exceptionally well executed horror. The use of lighting, the color scheme, the camera moves and the sound design; it looks and sounds terrific. Those gunshots for instance. The first one made me swear and cheer in three different languages. Then there's Big Norm, the blind man. A formidable figure who unexpectedly wakes up and makes sudden appearances. Nothing like the cheap jump scares you see so often. And he shows no fear. He's the kind of guy that probably thinks that the best defense is a good offense. Tough, ruthless and downright scary. With him and a bloodthirsty dog on the loose, Alvarez manages to create the sort of tension that gives me muscle spasms. What bothers me though, is what we get before the robbery.
Three young burglars, trying to get a head start in life, planning to rob a handicapped man. That's basically all I needed to know. That could raise a question like who is going to survive this? But with the (far from subtle) information the movie provides of the three, you should be able to figure out how this will turn out. In the right order too. Another question, more interesting, would be who are you going to root for? This basically goes down the toilet right after the opening shot. It's beautiful, but it clearly indicates that this is not just a victim. It all boils down to yet another question, some sort of dilemma that the robbers face, which is too manipulated to have some sort of meaning and makes not much sense anymore once you think about it.
Much like the epilogue by the way. Another overwritten and overexplanatory segment. Sometimes it's better to leave something to the imagination of your audience. Still, I absolutely loved the horror in this. The atmosphere, the visuals, the threat. Best I've seen in a while and I'm not even talking about what happens in the basement. I'm a bit torn about that actually. A scene that would benefit a not so good horror flick, it makes it instantly unforgettable, but in a home invasion so tense as this one, it probably could have done without that type of insanity. In a weird way, that's a big compliment, I guess. Fede Alvarez proves himself as a great horror director, but whenever the writer in him dominates his film, it just doesn't work so well.