In all honesty, I’m quite surprised that a sequel to 2016’s Don’t Breathe was ever greenlit and I’m even more surprised that it actually went to production and was made. I mean, the original film was good enough, but it’s a movie that doesn’t really scream “SEQUEL!” in the same way as other beloved horror franchises like Scream or Halloween, is it? There are no loveable characters amongst the terror that make you want to go back to this world, for instance, which makes it extremely baffling that the studio execs ever said yes to it. Nevertheless, here we are…
Don’t Breathe 2 brings us back to anti-hero/villain/morally questionable The Blind Man (Stephen Lang), only now he’s taken a young girl under his wing and he’s decided that teaching her survival techniques is the best way to raise her. Fair enough, since he’s a bit of a nut job himself, so he knows exactly what human beings are capable of. Enter a group of thugs who seem intent on kidnapping the girl for their own psychotic reasons. Once again, The Blind Man jumps into action in order to save her life.
Man, this was bleak. I have to say though, Don’t Breathe 2 unexpectedly contains maybe the cutest dog duo on film. And that’s the best thing about it, without a doubt.
Okay, so this is a second instalment that isn’t as bad as everyone seems to think. In fact, a lot of criticism for this seems to come purely from the fact that it’s a sequel. The first act is actually really strong, with some interesting camerawork and great use of super long, one shot takes. Sure, the story of Act 1 is basically a standard home invasion thriller with little originality, but that doesn’t mean it’s not well put together.
During Act 2 however, things begin to unravel. It is messy and unrealistic both in terms of plot and substance, which is a real shame. *BIG SPOILER ALERT* I mean, kidnapping your long lost daughter just to harvest her organs and save your wife? Come on. I know it’s fiction, but it really takes you out of it when disbelief seeps in. After quite a decent first act, the second just doesn’t really cut the mustard.
Thankfully, there are a couple of plot twists in the final act that serve to make you interested and draw you back in again, and for the most part they’re well executed. Leading man Stephen Lang really showcases his talent here too, as the film delves into ideas and the grey areas of what makes a good person and what makes a bad person. Do they ever really answer these questions? No. But it’s quite clear who you’re supposed to side with in the end…
So overall no, Don’t Breathe 2 isn’t as bad as people want you to believe, but it’s not a runaway success either. If the plot was less hokey and there were less gaping holes in it, it might have been as good as the first one.
Don’t Breathe 2 is currently available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.
TQR Category Ratings:
Costume & Set Design:
Overall Enjoyability Rating: ½