HOLLYWOOD—When the thriller “Don’t Breathe” arrived in theaters in 2016 it was a fun, mesmerizing ride. It was a unique take on horror, where a blind man found himself fending off three intruders who broke into his house. Look at it this way: it was “A Quiet Place” before “A Quiet Place” arrived in theaters. Stephen Lang as the protagonist/villain offered another interesting twist, as our intruders had to navigate themselves outside a home where it was booby-trapped and he used his sense to hear to his advantage even though he was blind.
Great opening and great ending, but I did not see a sequel in the works, and after watching “Don’t Breathe 2” there is a reason. The plot while not far-fetched is not as captivating as the first flick. That film had motive, there was drive for the antagonists and protagonists. Here it feels like a convoluted tale was just manifested and everyone decided to run with it, not realizing that a major spark was missing in the process.
What is that spark? Characterization. As a viewer, I did not care one single bit about any of the characters in this movie. Of course, you have a liking to the Blind Man aka Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) because his character was so authentic and an enigma in the first movie. That mystery, the allure is not as present this go around.
We learn that Norman has moved away from his original home in Detroit, to a property in the suburbs where he now has a daughter, Phoenix (Madelyn Grace). We get the tale about a fire that transpired that resulted in the death of Phoenix’s mother, and that does raise eyebrows for the audience. We know something is there we just have to investigate things a bit more too fully understand what is going on. Phoenix’s chance encounter with a stranger while in town sets the stage for the ‘intense action’ to start to unfold as Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) and a group of his gang members are on a mission to nab Phoenix, the audience doesn’t know why.
I should spoil the twist because it is not really a twist that is going to blow your socks off, but I will refrain from doing so. Anyway, Norman is forced to protect his home and Phoenix from Raylan and his gang members, as they discover just because he is blind doesn’t mean he cannot properly defend himself or those that he cares about the most. This sequel really does its best to reform Norman to make him appear more of a good guy versus the helpless, yet defensive blind guy in the first movie who had a ton of secrets.
There were little to no scares watching this movie, I was not surprised once as the narrative attempted to throw the audience off its trail and worst of all I didn’t care what happened to any of the characters, even the protagonists and that is very bad people. The ending of the movie is really terrible, it leaves you quite empty and just wondering that you spent 90 minutes watching a movie and this is the result you receive?
I’m not sure what happened from 2016 to 2021, but “Don’t Breath” and “Don’t Breathe 2” seem like two completely different franchises. The thrills are barely there, the drama is little to none and the surprises, what surprises. “Don’t Breathe 2” is the sequel no one will remember was even made and that is an absolute shame considering how fun its predecessor was.