Movie Review: ‘Don’t Breathe 2’

Director: Rodo Sayagues

Cast: Stephen Lang, Brendan Sexton III, Madelyn Grace, Adam Young, Fiona O’Shaughnessy

Plot: The Blind Man from Don’t Breath is now living in isolation with his young daughter Phoenix, who he trains as a survivalist. Both have their skills are put to the test when a gang abduct Phoenix.

Review: We don’t need much excuse to made a sequel these days. So long as you can turn a profit, producers will be more than happy to turn an original idea into a brand. In ideal world any attempt at a sequel will be inspired by creativity, or a need to keep telling the story. In this world, however, we have sequels that add nothing to the idea, the characters or the story. The only reason to revisit this repulsive world is for Stephen Lang’s intimidating ex-marine to tear despicable people to pieces for their petty slights.

This time around we have Phoenix (Grace), an adopted daughter whose mother died in a house fire. As expected, The Blind Man is hardly a stable parent and teaches Phoenix how to keep herself alive in extreme situations. Given the actions of The Blind Man in the first film, we can’t imagine he came to be raising Phoenix through legal means.

A gang of suspected human organ traffickers take an interest in Phoenix, and don’t waste time establishing themselves as killers. Amid the violent first home invasion attempt, it is revealed that gang leader Raylan (Sexton III) is Phoenix’s real father. He’s recently out of prison and looking to reunite his family. Much of the first half of this film is built around this twist, and the twists to follow, because the original movie had a series of twists. It’s feels more than a little forced.

The next twist comes after Raylan has taken Phoenix, killing his own dog in the process because the victims in the original were crappy people with sort-of noble intentions, so this movie does it as well. Then there’s a shocking twist to show what a monster the villain really is because Raylan wants Phoenix for her organs, needed to save his wife and Phoenix’s biological mother. She blew up their house while making meth and it ‘poisoned her organs’. Now they’ve elevated the stakes like the original did, The Blind Man storms the building to save Phoenix. There’s also a fake out death, just like the original.

I guess there’s one thing this movie does differently from the original, and that’s expecting us to side with The Blind Man. I wouldn’t say he’s sympathetic, but he is positioned as the protaganist and they work real hard to come up with a reason we’d want him to kill the bad guys. He’s on some kind of redemptive rampage against the child-killing parents, and they never convince us that these criminals would do something so horrifying. They’re not very convincing monsters is what I mean.

In case you need a reminder, The Blind Man kept a girl imprisoned in his house for months after raping her with a turkey baster. This is who they want us to side with. No. No fucking chance. That ship sailed the moment we saw the turkey baster.

From a purely horror fan viewpoint, there is some high quality practical special effects used to deliver some very creative sequences. That bit with the super glue was pretty damn scary. It’s effective on that front, but we can’t ignore that this entire film was a bad idea.

Rating: TWO out of TEN