I didn’t hate the first Don’t Breathe movie, but I didn’t like it either. It had an interesting premise with a creepy twist. Unfortunately, that made all characters unlikable. Don’t Breathe 2 basically runs along those same lines, but this time, you’re suppose to sympathize with the old blind kidnapper from the first movie, who sexually assaults women. I don’t know why anyone would want to do that.
It seems more and more often these days that Hollywood wants people to be more sympathetic toward villains or at the very least empathize with them. You have movies like Joker that wants us to understand and feel for a man and his mental illness. There’s Cruella, trying to humanize a woman that’s willing to kill puppies for fur coats. I bring these up, because the same is happening with the blind kidnapper that sexually assaults women.
His name is actually Norman Nordstrom. I don’t remember the movie ever saying it and most places show his name as “The Blind Man,” but I feel like I have to refer to him as this instead, so it’ll sink in how evil he is.
Don’t Breathe 2 starts with a little girl with a white stripe in her hair walking away from a fire and then it cuts to eight years later. We learn that she’s the daughter of the old blind kidnapper that sexually assaults women. He’s been training her to be able to survive. He’s over-protective of her, but as he says, he’s lost one daughter, he won’t lose another.
The old blind man that sexually assaults women is yet again played by Stephen Lang. He’s a great actor and as much as I hate the character, he does a great job. Although there’s not too much to the character. All we know about him through two movies now is that he’s an old blind kidnapper… okay, I’m tired of drilling that in. He was also a Navy SEAL and at one time had a wife and daughter, who are dead now.
It’s hard to talk about some aspects of the movie, because like the first, there’s some twists. I will say this, by this movie’s logic, the girl having a white stripe in her hair apparently proves she’s related to Rogue from the X-Men. I guess you could say there’s two twists in the movie, but after the first one, the second one is pretty predictable. I’m not one for guessing where a movie is going or who the killer is, but when you can see it from a mile away, you can’t help it.
The daughter’s name is Phoenix and is played by newer actress Madelyn Grace. She hasn’t really done much, but she does a good job in this. Although the crazy night she has, you’d expect a bit more panic from a young girl, but like I said, he trained her. She goes out with a women that picks up flowers from the old man and joins as she makes her deliveries. The blind man is reluctant to let his daughter out of his sight (SEE what I did there?).
Stephanie Arcila is the flower lady and I’ll be honest, she doesn’t live long enough to leave an impression, not for the lack of trying. She’s a nice woman and seems to be a big part of Phoenix’s life and why the blind man eases up from time to time with her. She takes Phoenix to a public bathroom and inside Phoenix is confronted from some creep. This being the catalyst for the rest of the movie.
Later this guy and his buddies kill the flower lady by blocking the one road to town. Get that? The one road back into town. Now, I haven’t been to Detroit in probably 20 plus years, but unless they’ve closed down dozens of roads, there’s more than one going into town. This was obviously lazy film making. How do we get her killed? Have them block the one road into one of the largest cities in Michigan. Maybe it’s just me, because I live only about an hour from Detroit, give or take.
Long story short, they go to the blind man’s house and like the first movie, shit goes down. They kill his dog and go in while the blind man is out looking for the dog. It’s during this time the first plot twist is revealed. The old man is trapped in his own attic with the group’s own dog basically holding him hostage. They set the house on fire and leave the man and their own dog to burn. They take the little girl with them.
I point this out for one glaring reason. The old man understands he’s trapped. He has a gun and aims it at the dog, but can’t pull the trigger. They’re using this to make the audience like him. He’s a kidnapper and sexual predator. The blind man not willing to kill a dog doesn’t make him a good person. Liking dogs isn’t a character trait.
I hate to invoke Godwin’s law here, but you know who else liked dogs? Hitler. I’m not saying this in the same sense of “Nazis drank water and you drink water, so you’re just like Nazis,” but using something like not willing to kill a dog as your way to make a character likeable is lazy and honestly pathetic. Especially when your main protagonist is a sexual predator.
The movie is entertaining to a degree, although there’s not much consistency with fighting and at times the blind man would have to see to know what’s going on or maybe he read the script in braille. Again, there’s no real good people in this movie, except the little girl.
If Don’t Breathe 2 would have been the first movie and the first movie didn’t exist, I’d like it more and the blind man’s character wouldn’t be as tarnished. Although the movie makes it seem like the blind man has learned from the decisions he’s made in the past, it doesn’t change how evil that past is. Thus making him unlikable. It’s just not something you can turn away from, especially with some of what we find out in this movie about him. It’s almost like he didn’t learn anything.
I honestly struggled with this movie and when it comes down to it, I didn’t like it has much as the first Don’t Breathe (not that I liked it, either). Don’t get me wrong, having a character that’s a sexual predator is just fine. What bothers me is when you try to make him the one we care about. The first movie didn’t do that and so we ended up with just bad people all around, some worse than others. In this one they try hard to redeem the blind man and shouldn’t.
I’ve seen much worse this year. It didn’t make me blind with rage like some movies. I can see where people might like these movies. I’m not looking forward to a third one, if they go there. Okay… I’ll stop now.