You know, years ago, after the first Don’t Breathe enthralled (and grossed out) many, Sam Raimi addressed that he heard the “greatest idea for a sequel” with the Blind Man’s journey. Precisely how does one craft a sequel with a man lacking sight that is a murderer, kidnapper, and someone who has probably committed other acts of barbarism? The answer has him battle people that are even worse!

So, the blind guy is some antihero now. Yay?

Taking place eight years after the original film’s events, the Blind Man (Stephen Lang) is taking care of an 11-year-old girl named Phoenix (Madelyn Grace). He keeps her away from society as much as possible and trains her survival skills. Essentially, she embodies the same traits as him (minus the blindness). After having a spooky interaction with a weird man (Brendan Sexton III) in town, Phoenix heads back home only to be tailed by the same individual and his goons. They break into the Blind Man’s house and eventually kidnap her, destroying the Blind Man’s home and forcing him to find them on foot at an abandoned hotel. More schemes come to light, but the Blind Man comes to save the day.

As I wrote out the general premise, it became more bafflingly understandable at how much suspense stays lost in this fan-serviced sequel. No one exactly wanted a follow-up after the craziness of the first. The first dealt with three teenagers looking for a way out of the impoverished life in Detroit by stealing and then stumbling upon a gold mine with the Blind Man’s home. But when the twists came about, it was a smartly told tale that had audiences second-guessing who the evil side was in the confines of a home (even if one part was highly questionable).

This time suspends disbelief too much, and the Blind Man becomes a parody of Daredevil from Marvel Comics. How exactly did director Royo Sayagues and producer Fede Alvarez overthink this storytelling? It no longer has the horror elements and ends up like a thriller. It doesn’t have a protagonist or side we can familiarize ourselves with because the developments are frail. Its story is very bleak, and the twists feel forced. And some of the dialogue is horrendous.

Once again, another sequel that shatters expectations in the wrong way. Like with It: Chapter Two, the horror thins out after the first fifteen minutes. Fortunately, the big positives of this second chapter are the stellar cinematography and good performances by Lang and Grace. Hell, even some scenes are lovely by themselves. But once the film gets past its first act, everything spins out of control.

Don’t Breathe 2 does what it can by allowing you to catch your breath amidst a crashing story.   

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