Film Review: Don’t Breathe 2 – 5.5/10

‘Now you’re gonna see what I see…’

Now that the days of VHS and home video are over, we are no longer treated to endless horror sequels. The days of middling horror movies like Children of the Corn spawning nine (!) sequels are gone and while most of those later entries in horror franchises are absolutely unwatchable, they also have a certain charm about them. And it is in an attempt to rekindle that magic that I came to Don’t Breathe 2 because there was nothing about the first film that suggested that a sequel would be justified or necessary…

We catch up with The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) eight years after the horrific events of the first film and he is now living happily with his adopted 11-year-old daughter Phoenix (Madelyn Grace) and his rottweiler, Shadow, in a Detroit suburb. Let us not forget that this is a man who kept a woman chained up in a basement for years in order to force her to have his baby. Domesticity doesn’t suit him. Things go south for Phoenix and her surrogate father when she is kidnapped by a pair of ruthless criminals with a dark secret.

The mastery of Don’t Breathe came from Fede Alvarez’s sterling direction (so good, in fact, that it netted him an entry in the Evil Dead franchise) and the success of the third act twist. Here, first-time director Rodo Sayagues (who shared a co-writing credit on the first movie) has little of the visual flair and none of the writing chops to pull this thing off. The attempts at revelation here are tired and predictable and while the cast does a good job of selling the more cartoonish moments, Don’t Breathe 2 feels like a film that never justifies its own existence. It also doesn’t stray far enough from the source material and suffers from the fact that apart from the little girl, we have absolutely nobody to root for – all of these characters are despicable.

I started this article lamenting the loss of endless horror sequels and I stand by that sentiment. Don’t Breathe 2 is too forgettable and safe to really qualify, however. Give me Don’t Breath 6 – In Space, Nobody Can Hear You Breathe any day of the week.