Five years ago, there was a surprisingly great horror movie called Don’t Breathe. It was the story of a group of kids targeting an old blind man’s house for robbery and being shocked when they discovered that the blind man was a certified killer. That movie turned into a survival movie for the group of kids trying to stave off this crazy old man.
It was an awesome, tense, anxiety-filled film that was a hoot to watch.
Fast forward to 2021 when get get a sequel to that epic film and my expectations were high. Sadly, it crashed down in flames. I have much to say about Don’t Breathe 2.
So The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) returned to the film, this time taking in a little girl and raising her as his daughter. He named her Phoenix (Madelyn Grace) and he kept her secluded from the world, homeschooled and isolated from other children and people. The one exception was Hernandez (Stephanie Arcilla) who would take the little girl into town if the girl passed her survival tests. It was a rare occurrence, but The Blind Man, whose name was Norman Nordstrom, seemed to trust her.
Unfortunately, a group of lowlifes, potentially involved in human organ trafficking, came across the girl and harassed her in a bathroom. The head of this group of scum was named Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) and it is not clear at first why he has such an interest in the little girl. Raylan leads his group to Norma’s house with the intent of taking the little girl.
I’m going to try to not spoil anything here, but I have several problems with the film that I want to address. The first, most glaring issue is that this film expects the audience to cheer for and support Norman after all of the terrible things that he had done in the previous movie. We saw that he was a murderer, a rapist and downright horrible monster, but here, he is taking care of this 11-year old, so he is our protagonist worthy of being cheered for. This is a colossal misjudgment on behave of the studio as I was reminded with every scene that this guy was just horrendous in the last film.
Plus, since he is the protagonist, Norman has to be shown to have more of a vulnerability so the audience could relate to him. He was not the indestructible killing machine as he was in the first movie. We have to see him suffer more to humanize him.
Allowing him to move about his own house without any trouble is one thing, but when the movie changes locations, Norman seems to still have no trouble navigating his way around and being as stealthy as ever.
There is an entire bit with a dog that is totally ridiculous, too.
The film goes out of the way to try and make Raylan even worse than Norman, so when his interest in Phoenix is revealed, they try and make it the most horrible thing possible so Norman’s transgressions look better by comparison. It did not work, by the way. It only made everybody look bad.
Madelyn Grace does a decent job for what she had to do, holding her own on the screen with the adult actors. Stephen Lang is always good, but his work in the first movie made it impossible to really support him in this one.
There are some decent kills, but they are nowhere near cool enough to base the movie on. I was very disappointed in Don’t Breathe 2 as it apparently did not understand the reasoning behind the first film’s success.