‘Don’t Breathe 2’ Review: Don’t Be a Woman, Either
In horror films, dogs often die. People die too, of course, and female characters are usually the quickest to perish.
There are exactly two women and two dogs in “Don’t Breathe 2”. More women are killed than dogs. Such is the chilling moral landscape of this sequel directed by Rodo Sayagues, who wrote the two “Don’t Breathe” films with Fede Álvarez, the director of the first film.
“Don’t Breathe,” a 2016 hit, saw blind veteran-turned-killing machine Norman (Stephen Lang) take on three delinquents in a variation of the home invasion genre. In this movie, thieves ransacked his home in search of riches, but Norman was hiding a darker secret involving twisted dreams of fatherhood that were shattered during the heist.
In the sequel, our antihero (still played by Lang) sort of acquired a daughter, Phoenix (Madelyn Grace). He tirelessly trains her in combat and survival skills, but rarely lets her leave the house. Phoenix is so locked up that she dreams of living in a children’s center. When henchmen show up to kidnap her, a bloody confrontation ensues and her true parentage is revealed.
This movie is tough on women and girls, even by horror standards. After sending one of his only two wives in the first 15 minutes of the film, “Don’t Breathe 2” wedges Phoenix between two despicable patriarchs. And compared to his competition, Norman looks like Father of the Year.
“Don’t Breathe 2” is very lively, full of violence and action, but a rancid narrative (and truly terrible dialogue) dominates the script. And at the center of it all is Phoenix, unnecessarily carrying the neuroses of an abusive man at the age of 11. At least she makes it out alive.
Don’t breathe 2
Rated R for the ubiquitous impalement and skull crush at “Midsommar” level. Duration: 1h30. In theaters.
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