Hey you. I wrote this Review Just for You because I like you.I also like pizza.
Rodo Sayagues and Fede Alvarez
If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for the sequel to the 2016 sleeper horror hit Don’t Breathe, you’re probably no longer with us and it was a pretty dumb idea. Because it was only 2016 and all you had to do was wait until 2021. It’s been such a calm and peaceful 5 years since the original was released.
There would be no reason for you to see a movie about an old blind man brutally beat up people for, you know, an escape.
But since old blind men have been clamoring for a sequel, we’re glad they’re still blind enough to watch this with their fingers. Unless you have an aversion to obvious Flomax and 60 Minutes product placement, this is the sequel you should leave the house/rent on VOD/wait for videotape for.
Don’t Breathe 2: Grace And Frankie opens sometime either before the first Don’t Breathe or after the first Don’t Breathe. It’s vague.
There’s a fire in what looks like a meth lab somewhere in Detroit. Or it’s just Wednesday in Detroit. There’s a little white girl passed out from smoke inhalation. An old man and a dog loom over her. They look like nice people and are just there to help.
Besides, free white girl!
The movie opens again with a little white girl running away from a dog. If this reminds you of the opening to Don’t Breathe, then you obviously remember the opening to Don’t Breathe. It looks like the dog is going to catch her and maul her to death.
But the little girl finds a gun and is prepared to defend herself. We all know how white people love guns. We’re anticipating a little white girl about to unload on a dog…
But it’s just a ruse as an old blind man grabs her gun and has a weapon of his own.
Old man tells little girl she’s failed “survival” and if this were the real world she would have been dead. The little girl looks like she’s 10 or 11, and yes, this looks like a typical day in this little girl’s life. We learn that her name is Phoenix, not so subtly named because she was found by a fire.
If you can’t guess by now, the old man is the old blind man (Stephen “Jessica” Lang) from Don’t Breathe. He’s the one responsible for making you shudder at the thought of turkey basters. He still doesn’t have a name, so we’ll call him Bradley Cooper.
A lot has changed since the first movie. Instead of kidnapping and violating young ladies in his basement, Blind Brad now has a daughter of his own to replace the daughter that died earlier. That’s sweet and we’re sure he’s mellowed now that he has a replacement daughter and that’s totally fine and not at all f*cked up.
Brad chastises Phoenix for letting her guard down because 10 year old girls should know how to handle guns by now. They return to a house we’re familiar with.
Brad and Phoenix live a content existence never leaving their home. Phoenix wants to go outside and have friends of her own. Blind Brad says no because it’s not safe. There could be a man nowhere near her using turkey basters for nefarious means.
Brad eventually relents and lets Phoenix roll around for the afternoon with a neighborhood acquaintance Hernandez (Stephanie Arcila). Phoenix wishes her dad would loosen the leash more. Hernandez agrees.
But at least Phoenix is having fun now.
Meanwhile, there’s a very important expository news bulletin about a rash of organ traffickers that will probably not be important later.
Double meanwhile, Phoenix is using the bathroom and an adult male is also in the bathroom watching her.
He introduces himself as Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) and tells Phoenix that she’s very beautiful. There’s nothing creepy about an adult male telling a junior high school aged girl that she’s beautiful in a bathroom. Fortunately, Brad and Phoenix’s pit bull Shadow is there to protect his human.
But something about Phoenix has caught Raylan’s eye.
Hernandez drops Phoenix back home. She tells Blind Brad that Phoenix needs to interact with children her own age. Blind Brad tells Hernandez to mind her Hernandez business.
Hernandez leaves and feels sorry for Phoenix. We feel sorry for Hernandez because there’s a truck in the middle of the only road out of town. Hernandez asks the sinister guys in the truck to please move so she can get by. We recognize Raylan, the harmless guy checking out little girls in bathrooms, in the passenger seat.
Hernandez gets into her own passenger seat right before she’s brutally murdered.
Turns out Raylan and his crew of meth heads *really* want to find Phoenix. But why? And why are there containers with medical signs printed all over them.
They might be, meaning they totally are. They’ve found Phoenix and Blind Brad’s house. But what to they want? All they see is a little girl, a dog, an old blind man, and Gary Oldman
What could possibly go wrong except a lot of carnage and destruction? They might not remember from the first movie that even though Blind Brad is blind, he can still kill dozens of people with his bare hands because it’s a common medical fact that when you lose your sight your ability to kill increases tenfold.
Before the night is through, there will be a lot of used turkey basters.
What Works With Don’t Breathe 2
- Stephen Lang is as commanding as ever as the old blind man. Even though there are countless instances in which you wonder how the f*ck an old blind man is still alive, in the moment you believe it because Lang owns the screen without a lot of dialogue. It’s only afterwards that you realize that Blind Brad should have been dead at least a dozen times over. But it’s a common medical fact that when you lose your sight your ability to withstand death increases 20-fold.
- More than once throughout Don’t Breathe 2, you ask yourself if you’re really supposed to be rooting for a guy who kidnapped, imprisoned, and violated women in the first movie. Writers Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe’s original director) and director/co-writer Rodo “Rooter” Sayagues make it more than plausible that the audience and Blind Brad’s sympathies are very much in alignment.
- Production designer David Warren turns Blind Brad’s house into something as dangerous as Blind Brad himself. The inside looks almost as intimidating as Stephen Lang. It must be a nuisance to have a house that everybody wants to rob or break into.
What Doesn’t Work With Don’t Breathe 2
- The casual, almost gleeful misogyny in which some of the female characters are treated in both this movie and the original. Don’t breathe…and don’t be female.
- Don’t Breathe 2 levels up the gore and the violence compared to the original. Unfortunately, it does not match the original in terms of tension. There were times in the first movie when you were literally holding your breath in total silence. There’s nothing like that in this movie. The sequel is as loud and blaring as the first one was quietly gripping. The trade off is too obvious to go unnoticed.
Don’t Breath 2 is a well-made violent horror movie that’s a step down from the original, but the drop off isn’t as much as you’d expect. It’s nowhere near as good as you’d hope, but nowhere near as bad as you feared. Just breathe and enjoy the carnage.
Noel Penaflor (author) from California on September 06, 2021:
Thank you very much.
Teodora Gheorghe on September 05, 2021:
I loved this! Delightfully sarcastic and quite informative. I laughed throughout the entire read. I will definitely check out your other reviews.
Noel Penaflor (author) from California on September 05, 2021:
Don't Breathe 3
Sam Shepards from Europe on September 05, 2021:
Just something I wonder about."Exclusively in movie cinemas". What do they show in other non-movie cinemas?