Photo: ‘Don’t Breathe 2’
In 2016 Fede Alvarez came out with ‘Don’t Breathe’ and it made audiences shiver. An introduction to Stephen Lang’s character the Blind Man, a war veteran that is far from helpless. When a group of teens attempts to burglarize his home, they find an unsettling discovery in the basement. An ending scene that forever haunts anyone that views it, the turkey baster moment. Difficult to view the scene without gagging, but a negative reaction is still a good reaction. The Blind Man miraculously recovers like any horror villain, but this time far from the place he was.
‘Don’t Breathe 2’, directed by Rodo Sayagues, takes place almost ten years later from the first film and the audience catches up with the Blind Man as he takes care of a young girl, Phoenix. A peek at her sheltered life filled with homework, survival training, and helping the Blind Man with tasks. Chaos ensues when kidnappers come to take Phoenix, played by Madelyn Grace, away from her “father”. The Blind Man will do whatever it takes to make sure she is safe and in his possession, killing whoever is in his way.
Rooting For The Enemy
This film does something that is extremely bold; it tries to change the judgment of the audience. In the first film, the Blind Man is considered the antagonist of the film. The protagonist wasn’t the best example of a good person, but the brutal violence of Lang surely set the tone of the hero and villain. If somebody viewed ‘Don’t Breathe’ and ‘Don’t Breathe 2’ back to back, it would be interesting to see the reactions. The sequel sets the Blind Man up to be the hero and the gut reaction is to root for him. In the back of people’s minds are the unforgivable things he did in the first film. If viewing this film by itself without the background information, it would be easy to root for him. This film provides an opportunity of evil versus evil and the audience can only hold on to the one innocent being, Phoenix.
She represents the daughter that the Blind Man lost many years ago, making him alone and isolated. All he wanted was someone to take care of, but when it was snatched away from him he would do anything to get that back. Making a bad person relatable to audiences is tricky because if it doesn’t work, it’s just a guy killing people. Being able to empathize with the villain is key; usually in the show ‘Criminal Minds’ the serial killers most of the time had a horrendous childhood. Being able to understand where evil is coming from makes the watcher accept that this is the explanation for why they are horrible. The fear of the unknown or that there is no explanation is a much scarier scenario.
The definition of what family is is different for anyone that is asked. At the end of the day, this twisted franchise is about family. A man that has lost his blood to a tragic accident is now in search of a replacement. With the failure from his first tries in the 2016 film, he is able to succeed when finding Phoenix. In the opening scene of the film, a young girl is seen escaping a burning home and passing out in the middle of the road alone. Eight years later comes across the screen and she is now older and accompanied by the Blind Man. Though strict as ever, he acts and claims that he is her father. An extremist in safety and protection, but he loves her and would never do anything to harm her.
When her blood relatives enter back into her life, it is the argument of who is her real family? Blood because nothing can ever change that? Or is it love and protection from someone who would have just been a stranger? ‘Don’t Breathe 2’ does a phenomenal job of messing with morality, blurring the lines of right and wrong. This can play as a brutal violent custody battle of a girl who just wants to be considered normal and have friends.
‘Don’t Breathe 2’ – Slasher Realness
The genre of slasher films has a unique structure that is difficult to make original, but in classics like ‘Halloween’ and ‘Friday the 13th’ that later was followed by hit ‘Scream,’ the slasher is an art that is hard to master. The best part of any slasher film? The story? Of course not! It’s the kills, the more outrageous and crazy the better. Seeing teens get chopped up with a machete just doesn’t do it anymore. Jason Voorhees is one to get creative, but maybe the most memorable being from the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ franchise when the one and only Johnny Depp gets sucked into his bed and then completely spit back out, but not back together.
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‘Don’t Breathe 2’ can absolutely be considered a slasher film because the kills in this one are inventive and jaw-dropping. The Blind Man isn’t one to use guns and using his enhanced senses while fighting gives a sense of a superpower. The gore factor is something to consider and may not be the best watch for someone who gets queasy from blood. The perfect watch for horror film addicts and slasher enthusiasts.
Sayagues does a good job in blending together the perfect amount of horror and thriller in ‘Don’t Breathe 2’. A shocking a different perspective of the grim Blind Man turning from villain to hero. Having the audience deal with an internal battle of whether to cheer for a deplorable man from only one film ago is a unique experience that is not seen very much in other franchises. An overall entertaining watch and recommended for the gore-loving fans.
Where to watch:
‘Don’t Breathe 2’ is now playing in theaters across the country.
Actors: Stephen Lang | Brendan Sexton | Madelyn Grace | Stephanie Arcila | Christian Zagia | Adam Young
Director: Rodo Sayagues | Writers: Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues | Producers: Sam Raimi and Fede Alvarez
Look forward to Stephen Lang’s work when four new ‘Avatar’ films are released all the way up to 2028 and the sequel finally coming out in 2022.
By Jack Colin
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Jack Colin is a playwright and screenwriter with an immense love for film & television which drives him to learn from and share his passion with anyone willing to listen. Living life as a trans man, Jack wants his writing to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ members and share the positive stories that are so often ignored through his work at The Hollywood Insider, he is eager to give readers a confident outlook on life. The storytellers of the world are the ones who decide what happiness can be. Jack takes pride in The Hollywood Insider’s mission statement to stray away from gossip and to lift up voices in entertainment with supportive and meaningful stories that will promote strength and unity.