Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Years after the events of 2016’s Don’t Breathe, we catch up with The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) hiding in an isolated cabin with young girl Phoenix (Madelyn Grace). He has been raising and training her as his own ever since finding her left for dead after a house fire. When a group of men comes to kidnap Phoenix, The Blind Man must do what he has to in order to save her.
Yes, you read that correctly – the villainous Blind Man has turned a new leaf and become a hero in DON’T BREATHE 2 or at the very least, an anti-hero. He mentions needing to atone for past sins (with zero mention of that infamously preposterous turkey baster), and certainly goes through hell trying to save Phoenix’s life. The Filmmakers are not interested in making him pay for his crimes though; rather they just want to see him inflict pain on anyone who gets between him and his “daughter”. Yet beyond the relentlessly graphic violence (and the egregious amount of dog abuse), I found the Film to not be anywhere near as thrilling or as terrifying as the first Film. It trades a lot of the fun in too, focusing instead on additional layers of grit and grime alongside heavy emphasis on orange and red motifs. It has some decently staged action set pieces, some great sound design and a very well shot one-take scene of Grace silently evading her captors. It even drops in what I can only describe as another revolting third act twist that is almost as gross as the first Film’s twist.
At least this one is consistent and does not threaten to derail and undo everything that came before it.
Brendan Sexton III does well as lead kidnapper Raylan and Lang delivers a more subdued performance as The Blind Man. He still imbues the character with just as much rage and anger as he did previously, except he gets more time for reflection. He does not get the opportunity to reinvent the character so much as he gets to tease a man haunted by regret. I wish Lang were able to develop him even more. The Film’s MVP is Grace. She is captivating in her first major film role, and does a terrific job expressing herself through the awful things happening on-screen. She adds a deeper sense of character and personality, and soars past any of the limitations of the script. Perhaps she will be the new generation’s future Scream Queen? We will just have to wait and see to find out.
Just in time for Halloween, DON’T BREATHE 2 is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital and VOD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Canada.
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