‘Don’t Breathe 2' Review—A Lifeless Failure

JONATHAN SIM
4 min readAug 15, 2021

Hollywood has a consistent trend with horror movies. If a horror film ever achieves moderate commercial success, they will demand it become a franchise of unnecessary sequels, spin-offs, and remakes. Unfortunately, this is one of those sequels.

Don’t Breathe 2 is an action horror film directed by Rodo Sayagues, the co-writer of the original Don’t Breathe, a movie that I quite enjoyed. This film follows The Blind Man (Stephen Lang), who has raised a young girl named Phoenix (Madelyn Grace). However, when gang members kidnap Phoenix, The Blind Man must get her back.

In 2016, we watched Don’t Breathe, an enjoyable horror film filled to the brim with quiet suspense. Unfortunately, this movie has none of the qualities that made the original so fascinating, instead going for a bland, uninteresting sequel that doesn’t justify its existence.

It’s easy to paint Hollywood’s endless series of sequels as a bad thing. But there are generally two types of sequels. First, we have sequels like A Quiet Place Part II, where director John Krasinski took the time to write a good script and continue the story in a way that didn’t feel contrived.

And then we have the more common type of sequel, where it’s a sequel for the sake of cashing in on the original's success, regardless of the quality of the script. We’ve seen this lately with films like Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, The Boss Baby: Family Business, The Forever Purge, and Space Jam: A New Legacy. Guess which type this movie is.

Everything that made the original film work so well is absent in this movie. Let’s begin with the characters. In the original film, the first act took the time to set up the characters, mainly Jane Levy’s character, Rocky, to allow the audience to sympathize with her distasteful actions.

This movie, though? You can’t really sympathize with anyone. The home invaders in this movie are not people we care about; they are evil gang members, and their leader is introduced to the audience behaving like a pedophile.

Clearly, we are not supposed to root for them. So, in that case, we are supposed to root for The Blind Man. But are we really supposed to root for him? The Blind Man was the antagonist of the original film, performing despicable acts in his journey to get a daughter.

But this movie essentially promotes him to protagonist status as a violent man generally justified in his actions. The film gives him a daughter, Phoenix, to give the audience a reason to root for his side, but it isn’t easy to sympathize with him, even if he is supposed to have a redemption arc á la Darth Vader.

As far as the story goes, there is nothing. The first film thrived on its simplicity and the execution of that premise; this movie is a discount version of Taken with disposable villains. The main villain has a connection to Phoenix, and it leads to interesting ideas but ultimately amounts to nothing of substance.

While the first movie had non-stop tension, with every moment keeping us glued to the screen, this movie has moments of downtime that pull the pace down. The film takes an action-centric approach, but The Blind Man works so much better as a character we fear instead of a character we support.

The dialogue has no ingenuity. The performances are passable. Overall, the movie fails as a horror film, and it fails as a sequel. While it could have been much worse, this is a lifeless failure that feels like it was only made to capitalize on the success of its much superior original.

Grade: ★★☆☆☆ [4/10, C-]

Jonathan’s Tips: Just watch the trailer. It gives away enough of the movie’s scares. Skip it.

Don’t Breathe 2 is exclusively in movie theaters.

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JONATHAN SIM

Film critic. Lover of Pixar, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Back to the Future, and Lord of the Rings. For business inquiries: jonathansim6703@gmail.com