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  Don't Breathe 2 Blind Dread
Year: 2021
Director: Rodo Sayagues
Stars: Stephen Lang, Brendan Sexton III, Madelyn Grace, Adam Young, Rocci Williams, Christian Zagla, Bobby Schofield, Fiona O'Shaughnessy, Stephanie Arcila, Diaana Babnicova, Sofija Stojanovic, Steffan Rhodri
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is eight years later, and the Blind Man (Stephen Lang) has re-established himself in a house out in the woods with the daughter he always wanted back. However, the exact origins of this girl, named Phoenix (Madelyn Grace), are a mystery, not least to herself as her adoptive father will not reveal anything about her past to her, and makes a point of home schooling her and not allowing her to mix with other children. One day, she is in a public toilet when she notices a man (Brendan Sexton III) blocking the exit; she calls her trusty dog to intimidate him and gets away, but something about this creep stays with her - what does he know?

Five years is a long time in the movie business, and the impression was that this sequel to Don't Breathe, a not bad horror with a gimmick from 2016, was something the filmmakers wanted you to have as vague a memory of as possible. No wonder: in that one, Lang's Blind Man started as victim but then turned the tables on his burglars to be revealed as a rapist and murderer, a bigger threat to them than they were to him. Writers Rodo Sayagues and Fede Alvarez swapped chairs for this one, so Sayagues took the directorial reins, but the principle to their screenplay was essentially the same, in that it involved shifting loyalties throughout.

Shifting loyalties for the audience as well as Phoenix, who was really the only moral character we could support, in light of what the others got up to. We were not supposed to forget the nastiness the Blind Man had gotten up to in the source, not exactly, but it would be better if we dismissed any qualms we may have had for backing him in what transforms into a variation on Straw Dogs as he defends his home against the thugs of Raylan (Sexton III), whose hairstyle reveals the connection he has between him and the girl. It was difficult to say to someone watching a franchise that included a rapist as the protagonist, hey, this is the good guy now!

But then again, they did give him a speech where he expressed remorse and tried to explain himself, all to offer him some depth that did not quite take. What he was, was a disabled killing machine, as the thugs find out to their cost as they sorely underestimate him, predictably being picked off one by one as they attempt to capture Phoenix, but look at it this way if you want to appreciate Don't Breathe 2 in the spirit intended: she has done a deal with her own personal Devil, and that can be put to her advantage given how adept he is at protecting her. There was a definite fable-like quality here that would make it a decent double bill with a picture like Gretel and Hansel (with which this shared a cast member), and its underpopulated setting leaned into that.

With a sense of a world long since abandoned by any kind of law, or guardians to enforce that law, Sayagues emphasised the crunching violence to show what would replace it. In fact, only the first half featured the sort of hide and seek cat and mouse you would have witnessed in the first effort, as the second strayed into what frankly was more action movie territory, no less bloody, but closer to the adults-rated thrillers that had a lone superman pitted against the ringleader and his goons, all of whom were attacked in slasher flick style as our hero (or antihero, here) outwitted him even as he took some knocks of his own. With the source not being a stone cold classic anyway, the filmmakers did not appear to be under any illusions, they were making a down and dirty thriller chiller (check out the reason Raylan wants to rescue the child, for instance), and if that traversed the lines of good taste, so be it. An efficient, visceral item that amused almost despite itself. Music by Roque Banos.

[Available to Download & Keep on October 29 2021
Available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray, DVD
and to Rent on Digital November 15 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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