Don’t Breathe 2 movie review: Sequel creates tension, but forgets to consider her sinful past

Movie name: Don’t breathe 2

If the loss of a child had made Norman Nordstrom, brilliantly tried by Stephen Lang, an atheist in the 2016 horror thriller Don’t Breathe, raising another makes him teach “God Is Righteous” in his sequel. It’s a lesson the Blind War Veteran gives Phoenix, played by Madelyn Grace, who is introduced as his daughter at the start of Don’t Breathe 2. While the home invasion franchise’s first film was unabashedly brutal, the sequel tries to infuse drama – without detailing – into the deadly mix.

Don’t Breathe 2 opens with a young girl emerging from a burning house and passing out on the road. Eight years after the fatal fire, we meet her as the Phoenix. She is trained in combat and survival techniques by our anti-hero Norman. He’s overprotective, she’s rebellious. A group of military-born intruders led by Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) ends up testing the father-daughter relationship. However, you don’t really feel for Norman as he puts his life on the line to save Phoenix. Their connection is not quite established until the start of the cat-and-mouse hunt.

Watch the Don’t Breathe 2 trailer here:

As Don’t Breathe follows a group of teens trying to steal a small fortune from a seemingly harmless blind man and land in nightmarish territory, the sequel draws skilled intruders in pursuit of preteen Phoenix. None of the invaders know how intimately Norman knows his home and how he can transform into a killing machine with the help of his sharp senses. This leads to high octane action, lots of gore, and some intense bloody showdowns in both movies.

Don’t Breathe 2 is directed by Rodo Sayagues, who co-wrote the screenplay for both films with Fede Alvarez, director of the first film. In the sequel, the intruders want to travel to Phoenix anyway to complete an agenda. The Blind Man is ready to protect her at any cost. The choreography and the camera work are here as strategic as they are effective. They portray the characters’ desperation in their struggle for survival. The sound effects oscillate between silence and dramatic score to increase the thrill.

Stephen Lang as a blind man is both threatening and burdened with his sins. The 69-year-old actor has a formidable on-screen presence, which comes through best in fight scenes. Even though Lang gets avoidable dialogue, he makes it work with his deep voice. Madelyn Grace moves quickly as a Phoenix and expresses her complicated emotions through her facial expressions. After all, the little girl is caught between two groups of bad guys, who want to own her for their own agendas. The rest of the cast are believable in their villainous roles.

Don’t Breathe was an intelligently scripted, designed, and performed film that turned out to be a dormant success. Its highly anticipated sequel Don’t Breathe 2 appears to have succumbed to the pressure of living up to the unforgettable first release. After all, we were fascinated by the fact that the Blind had superhuman strength and endurance, even with an imperfect sense of justice, questionable humanity, and twisted morality. If there’s still air left for the Don’t Breathe franchise, hopefully the next one serves the ingenious package on par with the first film onscreen. And oh the screen, and the theatrical experience of a horror thriller … that’s a sure-fire saving grace of Don’t Breathe 2.

Don’t Breathe 2 hits theaters in India on September 17th.

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