Stefon Bristol’s sci-fi thriller “Breathe” (2024) starts off well with not a very unique concept but a rather calm approach where we see the world’s oxygen level is inhabitable, and Darius is constantly on the lookout along with his family to find a way so that they can survive forever. Starring Milla Jovovich and Sam Worthington, this film fails to make any impact as science fiction. The makers have attempted to create a palpable threat in a dystopian world, but all they could manage was chaos, junk, and nothing important.

Spoilers Ahead

Breathe (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The film starts with Duncan cleaning the solar panels while his father is roaming in a library looking at the books. The year is 2039. They are currently staying inside a bunker created by Duncan, as he had predicted something like this might have happened. Therefore, to keep his family safe, he made a bunker and an oxygen generator. People at that time thought that Duncan was foolish to think about such things. Eventually, only Duncan’s family remained because he had foreseen the threat that the earth’s dwindling oxygen level would make the planet inhabitable.

Anyway, Duncan’s watch shows the oxygen level is going down. Subsequently, he talks to his father via radio communication that they need to head toward the bunker. But Duncan’s father fails to make it because of an accident. Duncan alone returns to the bunker, where he tells his daughter, Zora, and wife, Maya, about the death of his father. Duncan decides to bury his father the next day alongside his mother because he deserves that. Maya rejects the notion because his mother’s burial is miles away from the bunker, and this could be a possible threat to his life.

What happens to Duncan?

When Duncan convinces his wife somehow that he will be going to bury his father, Maya has the worst feeling at that moment. Later that night, Duncan sees that the oxygen generator is showing the system is compromised. He realized something that we learn later in the film. Anyway, Duncan shares a heartwarming moment with Zora the following day before he leaves for the task. He gives a book to Zora saying that he will want a full report on this when he comes back.

Five months have passed, and we see Zora trying to talk to Duncan through radio communication. But there is no reply. Zora and Maya have both realized the fact that Duncan had died out there. Maya tries multiple times to find his body. Maya tries to put the seed in the soil so that the hope is sustained when one plant finally grows in this atmosphere. However, their soil sampling and everything else seems to give no indication of life whatsoever.

Why does Maya Avoid Letting Tess and Lucas Inside?

Breathe (2024) Movie Ending Explained
A still from “Breathe” (2024)

One day, when Maya and Zora are collecting the soil for sampling, they see an armed man and woman coming toward them. Maya hides herself and Zora as the man and woman examine their place from outside. When Maya confronts the woman, she says that she is Tess and she has come from Philadelphia where 25 people are still alive. Maya does not trust her words as, up until now, they think that they are the only survivors. Tess introduces Lucas as her bodyguard, and she says she has worked with Duncan before.

Maya does not believe a word that Tess says because she knows everyone Duncan has worked with. Later, Tess calls Maya by her name and even says Zora’s name, which suggests that she has known them all very well. Tess explains her reason, saying that she knows Duncan was able to make an oxygen generator, and she is here to replicate that because the 25 people out there need to have an oxygen generator for their own. Tess just needs to take a quick look at the generator so that she can create another one for those people.

Maya finally agrees to allow them inside, but not before cuffing them first. She asks Lucas to wait outside while she sees if Tess creates any threat inside. When Maya takes Tess inside, another man with a gun runs toward them. Seeing him shouting and running at them, Maya and Zora shoot at him. In that chaotic moment, Tess remains outside the bunker while Maya and Zora enter the bunker with this new man named Micah. Tess tries to explain to them that Micah is their lookout, so if anything goes wrong, he can help. But Maya has made up her mind that she will not let anyone else enter the bunker.

How do Tess and Lucas enter into the Bunker?

Tess has had enough now. She asks Lucas to break open the doors so that they can enter the bunker. Lucas is a locksmith and he uses some weird machine to break the almost unbreakable door. To stop this from happening, Zora, who is smarter than her father, creates an electromagnetic field that destroys Lucas’s machine. Tess and Lucas try multiple ways to enter into the bunker but all seem to be failing. Meanwhile, Tess unplugs the solar panels on the roof so that the CO2 level inside the bunker increases.

To stop this from happening, Maya finally comes out of the bunker, and Tess captures her. While Tess and Lucas show Maya at gunpoint in front of the CCTV camera, Micah releases himself and ties Zora’s hands against the leg of a table. Soon after, due to a previous injury from a gunshot, Micah has lost so much blood that he dies on the spot. Now, since Zora’s hands are tied and Maya has left her keycard inside the bunker, Tess and Lucas fail to get in.

Maya comes up with another idea, and she, along with Tess, enters the car to find Duncan’s body because he has a keycard. Tess tells Lucas to stay here because if Zora is able to get out, he will then enter into the bunker. Maya brings Tess to a place where Duncan’s body is found. Maya has lied about this to Zora because she thinks it’s too much for her to handle the truth. The car’s battery runs out, and Tess returns with the keycard. Maya has a leg injury, so she decides to stay back. Tess has promised to get back to her.

Breathe (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

What Happens to Tess and Lucas?

Breathe (2024) Movie Ending Explained
Another still from “Breathe” (2024)

Tess and Lucas finally enter the bunker, and Zora asks about Maya. Tess tells her that she is okay and she will go to bring her back. But, Lucas threatens her not to go anywhere but to observe the oxygen generator first. Looking inside the oxygen generator, Tess realizes it is too complicated for her to replicate this. She then explains to Lucas that she never knew Duncan. All she was able to do was collect the radio frequency and overheard Zora, who used to talk to her father about almost everything, including the oxygen generator.

Later, she tells Zora the truth behind Duncan’s death, as Maya has told her. Maya told her that Duncan knew that the bunker could not hold more than two people because of the limitations of the oxygen generator. So, he decided to sacrifice himself when he found out about this glitch. He thought that Zora would recover from the limitations with time. Maya never told her about any of this, and now, when Lucas learns the truth about Tess, he shoots her dead on that very instance.

Meanwhile, the car is getting charged by the sunlight, and Maya ends up on the roof of the bunker. Since the CO2 level starts to rise, Lucas sends Zora to do the necessary. Zora meets with Maya, and together they plan to bring Lucas out of the bunker. When Lucas comes out, Maya shoots at him, and she, along with Zora, tries to get into the bunker. But Lucas somehow manages to enter as well. Due to multiple breaches in the system, the hydrogen level inside the bunker starts to rise.

Zora and Maya emerge from the bunker while Lucas stays inside without the oxygen mask. When Lucas finally believes that he can’t do anything to escape this situation, he decides to shoot at the oxygen generator. Due to the high presence of hydrogen, when Lucas fires the gun, the whole bunker explodes. Later, with the limited oxygen supply they have, Zora drives her mother to Philadelphia, the place Lucas, Tess, and Micah had come from. They call out again and again for help until their oxygen runs out.

Are Maya and Zora Alive?

At the end of the film, we see Maya is well taken care of and is inside a place where numerous people are living peacefully. She is embraced by one of the old people who tells her that Zora has finally resolved the oxygen generator issue, and she is even upgrading it to a whole new level. These people have given Maya and Zora a new home. Also, for Zora, she turns out to be just as Duncan had always hoped. She even perhaps saves humanity by upgrading the oxygen generator. Just before all of this, while coming back to the bunker, Maya saw a plant grow.

So, earth has finally started to heal itself while the remaining people try hard to find their place in it. The film lacks the potential to be good sci-fi despite having good material in hand. It is perhaps because of the lack of the backstory of every character and how the earth turned into such a place. Why does Lucas behave like that when the others in that facility seem very welcoming? Does Micah’s kid Claire truly exist or not? What is Tess’s qualification that made Lucas believe in her so much? So many loopholes that made the film a less-than-average watch sadly.

Read More: 20 Most Anxiety-Inducing Movies of the 2010s Decade


Breathe (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Breathe (2024) Movie: Jennifer Hudson, Milla Jovovich, Quvenzhané Wallis, Common, Sam Worthington
Breathe (2024) Movie Genre: Sci-Fi/Mystery & Thriller | Runtime: 1 hr. 33 min.
Where to watch Breathe

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