Don’t Breathe (Movie) Ending Explained

Three burglars enter into a blind man’s house, but soon they realize the man is hiding his own secret. That is the main premise of the film “Don’t Breathe” (2016).

Directed by Fede Álvarez, “Don’t Breathe” (2016) is a thriller starring Jane Levy as Rocky, Dylan Minnette as Alex and Stephen Lang as Norman Nordstrom.

don't breathe 2016 ending explained

This post includes a brief plot summary and an explanation about the ending of the film “Don’t Breathe” (2016). Who is the bad guy? Beware of spoilers.

Don’t Breathe (2016) – Plot Summary

Rock, Alex and Money are burglars. The youngsters break into people’s houses and bring the stolen goods to a “broker” so they can get a cut of it.

One day, the group decides to venture on their own. Money receives a tip: there is an old man (Norman Nordstrom) hiding a substantial amount of cash in his house.

It seems that, Norman lost his daughter in a car accident. The culprit was a young woman named Cindy Roberts. Her parents offered Norman money as a way to settle and compensate for his loss.

As the tree burglars spy on Norman, they learn two things about him: the man is blind and he has a big dog. After studying their target, the group put their plan into action. The burglars drug Norman’s dog and then proceed to break into the house.

Money finds Norman’s bedroom and releases some sleeping gas to sedate him. The three individuals find a locked room. Money shoots the lock to open the door. Alex strongly disagrees with Money’s violent methods and walks away.

Norman is now standing in front of Money and Rocky, all the noise woke him up. Although Money tries to talk himself out of the situation, Norman takes his gun and kills him right in front of Rocky. The blind man goes into the locked room and checks whether the cash is still inside the safe.

While Norman checks the rest of the house, he finds two pairs of shoes. This finding prompts him to check the safe again. This time, the money is no longer there. Rocky opened the safe and took the cash away.

Meanwhile, Alex has a change of heart and returns to the house. Now, that Norman has locked all the possible entries, Alex and Rocky re-enter the basement to try to escape. Then, they make a horrific discovery: there is a pregnant woman held captive down there. Turns out, it is Cindy Roberts.

Rocky frees Cindy. As they open the cellar door, Norman steps in front of them with a gun and pulls the trigger. The bullet ends up killing Cindy. At this point, Norman is crying over Cindy’s lifeless body. In order to slow his targets, Norman shuts off all the lights.

Despite of many attempts, Rocky and Alex fail to escape the house. The blind man eventually knocks Alex out and captures Rocky. After the young woman wakes up, Norman explains that he’s going to artificially inseminate her. He did it to Cindy, so she could give him “another daughter”.

Alex storms in and attacks Norman out before he could inseminate Rocky. They handcuff him and try to leave the house through the front door. However, once again Norman appears and shoots Alex dead. Although, Rocky manages to escape from the house for a brief moment, the blind man captures her again.

When Rocky wakes up, she decides to fight. First, the young woman decides to disorient the blind man by setting off the alarm. Then, Rocky beats Norman into submission with a crowbar. To finish him off, she pushes the blind man into the basement and shoots at him.

Before the police arrives, Rocky grabs the money bag and leaves Norman’s house. On her way to Los Angeles, Rocky learns that Norman is not dead. The news reports that the killings of the two intruders (Money and Alex) were in self-defence.

There are no mentions about other people being in the house (Rocky and Cindy), nor does the news report any missing valuables (stolen cash) in the house. Despite of feeling horrified by what she just saw, Rocky moves on. In the end, she takes her sister out of Detroit and heads to Los Angeles.

Don’t Breathe (2016) – Ending Explained

The ending of “Don’t Breathe” shows the audience that Norman Nordstrom (a.k.a The Blind Man) is alive and kicking. Having said that, is he going after Rocky?

Some viewers might see the “The Blind Man” as the antagonist of “Don’t Breathe”, but there is more to it than meets the eye. First of all, is Norman Nordstrom really the bad guy in this story? In my opinion, he is not. The pain of losing his daughter made him do unimaginable things, but the man is not evil personified.

Grief is not an excuse to kidnap and impregnate people against their will, but in this story someone committed a crime and almost got away with it. That person would be Cindy Roberts. She ran over Norman’s daughter, which resulted into her death.

Whether, Cindy regrets her actions or not, it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, she killed someone. No amount of money can bring someone dead back. Although, Norman took the “hush money” from Cindy’s parents, it’s not exactly an “even-Steven” situation for him.

The events that follow after Norman’s daughter death are indeed unfortunate. Consumed by his grief, Norman does the unthinkable and forces Cindy to have his child. In a nutshell, Norman is not a psycho who gets pleasure from taunting and killing people.

So regarding that ending, will Norman go after Rocky? Probably not. The man himself said that there were only two intruders (Money and Alex) in the house. That statement leaves Rocky off the hook, the police won’t go after her because they do not know that she was there in the first place.

By the way, when The Blind Man said that no valuables were missing, it’s almost like a flipping finger to Rocky and her buddies. It’s was never about the money, he doesn’t value it as much as the burglars did. The most precious thing in the world for The Blind Man was his daughter.


Don’t Breathe (2016) [DVD]


Who Is The Bad Guy in Don’t Breathe?

As I said before, I don’t think Norman is the villain in “Don’t Breathe”. In my opinion, Money, Alex are more despicable than The Blind Man. And Rocky, she is no hero either.

Money is your typical thug, he has no qualms about breaking into other people’s houses and messing their place afterwards.

Then, there is Alex. On the surface, this young man looks innocent, but he is not. What type of good Samaritan steals from others? Let’s not forget that he and his pals were trying to break into a blind man’s house.

The burglars’ biggest mistake was to think that Norman was an easy target just because he lost his eyesight. But oh… they were so wrong. Now, let’s not forget about Rocky. She was the only survivor.

Does Rocky deserve to be alive? Her current family life is not the best. Rocky’s mother appears to be negligent and somewhat abusive towards her children. So, one could say that Rocky was stealing in order to provide a better life for herself and her sister (Diddy). But, does the end justify the means? No, it does not.

At the end of the day, Rocky was looking for some quick money to get out of her mother’s house and bring Diddy along. Although, her motives are somehow “noble”, it’s still not okay to rob from a blind man.

Also, there is no such thing in this world such as “easy money”. Was it worth though? Rocky lost her boyfriend (Money) and her friend (Alex) during the ordeal.

Final Thoughts

So is “Don’t Breathe” a scary film? Not really, suspenseful is a more adequate word. As I mentioned before, I don’t think “The Blind Man” is the true villain of “Don’t Breathe”. Greed might be the root of all problems.

The three burglars were looking for some quick money, but ended paying a hefty price for their greed. Although, Rocky survived, she almost didn’t make it.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I personally didn’t really care whether Rocky could make it or not. Sounds a bit harsh, but let’s not forget that the young woman is a thieve and she was trying to take advantage of a blind man.

All the characters in “Don’t Breathe” are flawed in their own way. Money deserves no sympathy, he is a straight up thug with no respect for others. Alex doesn’t fall too far behind from Money, he uses his skills to sneak into people’s houses and steal their belongings. Rocky’s plan to get a better life comes at the expense of others. Well, that doesn’t sound very honourable does it?

Last but not least, there is Norman (a.k.a. The Blind Man). This character has a really tragic background story. Not only did this man lose his eyesight but he also lost his daughter. Despite of his personal tragedies, his actions are still far from being excusable. It’s not okay to impregnant people against their will, even when that same individual is the responsible for your loss.

Overall, “Don’t Breathe” is a very solid thriller. The only thing, that irked me was the ending. I still believe that Rocky got away too easily. By the way, there is an alternative ending to “Don’t Breathe”, which is much darker. Yes, you’ve guessed it right… Rocky becomes the surrogate to Norman’s child.

Although the former is a more unpleasant ending, it might have made “Don’t Breathe” a true classic in its genre. That other ending never made it to the big screen, as the director deemed it “too macabre” and decided to stick with the “happier ending”.