Don’t Breathe 2 on VOD, a Solid, Sinister Sequel to a Great Home-Invasion Thriller

Now on VOD, Don’t Breathe 2 faces the unenviable activity of following 2016’s Don’t Breathe, an actual groin-gripper of a suspense-thriller — and a essential and industrial hit — from proficient neo-horror director Fede Alvarez, who co-wrote the movie with frequent collaborator Rodo Sayagues. In addition they penned this sequel, though Alvarez abdicated the director’s chair for Sayagues to helm his first characteristic. The filmmaking duo’s rock-solid resume contains the surprisingly good 2013 Evil Dead reboot and the well-received Apple TV+ sequence Calls, so one approaches Don’t Breathe 2 hoping it isn’t the primary actual clunker of their collaborative profession.

The Gist: Flames engulf a crappy outdated home. Slightly woman crawls from the blaze and lies in the midst of the highway; the credit name her Phoenix for apparent mythical-symbolic causes, though such mythical-symbolic stuff additionally implies a cyclical nature, so one hopes this poor waif doesn’t spend her life being reborn from the ashes, as a result of that certainly could be an disagreeable existence. Subtitle: 8 YEARS LATER. Phoenix (Madelyn Grace), now perhaps 10 or 11 years outdated, dashes via the woods, pursued by a type of canines that appears prefer it may chew via a metal I-beam. She climbs a really tall fence with appreciable dexterity and scampers to an outdated deserted automobile, the place she finds an enormous shiny revolver. However an outdated man, who we acknowledge as The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) from the primary film, seems behind her and snatches the pistol. “FAILED,” he says.

The Blind Man is educating her “survival,” apparently considered one of her lessons in a slightly nontraditional home-school curriculum. She calls him “father,” however that appears very YUCK, as a result of we all know this knotted outdated creep and retired Navy SEAL is an actual piece of labor who most likely ought to be in a jail for the criminally insane. But because the film rolls on, we begin to marvel if The Blind Man obtained some self-help tapes and perhaps is a greater human being now, though the true query is how a lot he’s improved himself. He’s overprotective to a fault, stopping wanting outright enslaving the woman. He barely lets her go away the home, and when he lastly relents, she eyeballs a youngsters’s shelter enviously. Oh, and there’s an enormous crimson steel field within the basement sitting in a shaft of eerie mild, telling us it most likely wasn’t used to crate-train the canine. I’ll pause for a second so chances are you’ll shudder.

Phoenix argues with The Blind Man: She desires to go to highschool and have buddies and be a daily child — and perhaps have an grownup guardian who doesn’t stockpile canned items like a nut, or have a voice that seems like groaning filtered via a quarry that exploded in 1877, or have such a ghoulish f—ing air to him. One can’t think about him studying bedtime tales to her or making a good pot of mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner. He desires to maintain her secure, so perhaps he’s obtained good intentions behind the insanity of his methodology. Both method, hugs are seemingly at a premium on this residence. But it surely’s by no means so dangerous that it may’t worsen, as a result of some whole rando psychotic goons — performed by Brendan Sexton III, Adam Younger, Rocci Williams and others — need to kidnap the crap out of her, and that doesn’t sit properly with the outdated S.O.B. They break into the home and Phoenix panic-rooms within the basement field so The Blind Man can do all method of unsanitary issues to the intruders. Right here’s hoping she passes this “survival” check, as a result of it simply may be the ultimate examination.

Don't Breathe 2 (2021)
Picture: Everett Assortment

What Films Will It Remind You Of?: The film retreads Don’t Breathe for some time, though with the child concerned, it additionally has the air of an extra-gory Home Alone.

Efficiency Price Watching: Lang was fairly terrifying within the first film, and right here, his character is minimize with a craving for redemption that, properly, doesn’t even come near balancing out his ruthless violent streak and caretaking methodologies. Lang does what he can to render the man a conflicted soul, although.

Memorable Dialogue: “Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe,” says The Blind Man at one level, very blatantly defying the title of the film.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None, and be pleased about it, as a result of on this explicit narrative world, it seemingly could be terribly disagreeable.

Our Take: Right here’s a reminder that not all protagonists must be ethical or likable to ensure that a film to be good. The important thing conflicts in Don’t Breathe 2 is dangerous guys vs. a foul man, though the film ultimately clarifies — due to a demented third-act growth — that The Blind Man is the less-terrible of the 2 events, at the very least these days. We definitely keep in mind how the disturbing reveals in Don’t Breathe remodeled the outdated man from not-so-vulnerable sufferer to somebody who wasn’t simply defending his homestead, however had one thing very hideous to cover. So the sequel finds him within the midst of an interior rehabilitation venture: He reluctantly permits Phoenix to depart the house to play on a playground, and he righteously protects her from those that want to do her hurt.

Effectively, extra hurt than he’s seemingly already performed to her. Don’t neglect in regards to the field within the basement. By no means neglect in regards to the field within the basement. She gained’t. We will solely think about why it’s there, and I doubt it’s usually used as a panic room, like it’s as soon as the badder dangerous guys come alongside — come alongside to be the recipients of The Blind Man’s nefarious defenses of the woman’s honor, which incorporates the artistic use of such family items as a can of beans, superglue, and many others. Mutilation is a big piece of the film’s pie, though to the seemingly chagrin of gorehounds, it options some devilishly artistic kills, it doesn’t all the time allow us to soak within the quease.

No, Sayagues is extra interested by preserving the movie a taut and suspenseful 98 minutes. It’s technically robust, crisply edited to emphasise pressure. And it appears to be like terrific, Sayagues enjoying with mild, shade and shadow to eerie impact. It doesn’t pay sufficient service to The Blind Man’s interior battle to totally render him a heroic determine — motion and plot simply trumps character right here — though the implication is that the world raging exterior the extremely restrictive residence he’s made for Phoenix is way worse. (Like the primary film, the sequel’s set in Detroit, which actually wants a break from being depicted as an amoral ruin-porn hellhole the place homes can full-on burn to cinders in towering flames with out anybody noticing or caring sufficient to name 911.)

Don’t Breathe 2 isn’t interested by making anybody comfy, which, sure, completely could possibly be mentioned of the Noticed and Purge motion pictures. However Sayagues and Alvarez present sufficient fashion and creativity to considerably differentiate their work from such dreck. Their model of pessimism is impressed, nearly considerate. It sticks to the ribs the place different horror simply desires to tear via you want a bout of dysentery.

Our Name: Don’t Breathe 2 is a stable, suspenseful outing that isn’t interested by being one more home-invasion thriller. STREAM IT, however don’t mistake it for some grand assertion on the human situation — it exists to make us clench up tight, even when it’s not as efficient as its predecessor.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic based mostly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at or observe him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Where to stream Don’t Breathe 2 | Stream It or Skip It?


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