Don’t Breathe 2 (2021): Disappointing Sequel to 2016 Hit

Don’t Breathe 2, the horror thriller by Rodo Sayagues in hisdirectorial debut, is based on screenplay he co-wrote with Fede Álvarez, the director of the first film, Don’t Breathe.

The sequel is produced by Álvarez, Sam Raimi, and Robert Tapert, and stars Stephen Lang, reprising his role as Norman Nordstrom / “The Blind Man,” with Brendan Sexton III and Madelyn Grace in supporting roles.

After the critical and commercial success of the first film, a sequel was planned with Álvarez set to return as director.

Eight years after the first film’s events, Norman Nordstrom lives in relative solitude with his daughter Phoenix and his Rottweiler, Shadow, in the suburbs of Detroit.

Norman tells Phoenix that they used to have another house, which burned down in a fire, in which her birth mother died.

Norman gets a supply drop from his friend, former Army Ranger Hernandez. Hernandez, Norman’s only connection with society, convinces reluctant Norman to let Phoenix accompany her on errands in town, so that she can have some time out of the house.

While in town, Hernandez stops at a gas station to refuel, and Phoenix is ambushed by a gangster when she goes to use the bathroom. Shadow scares the man away, but he and his men secretly follow Hernandez’s van. They wait for Hernandez to drop Phoenix off, before ambushing and killing Hernandez.

Norman, who suspects something happened to Shadow since his food bowl is untouched, goes outside to look for him, while the gang silently breaks in to kidnap Phoenix. Norman finds Shadow’s body and realizes that he’s been shot before running back to the house to defend it.

A struggle ensues between Norman and the gang members. When gang leader Raylan shows up, he tells Phoenix, who is hiding with Norman, that he is her real father, confirming it by showing they both have a streak of white hair on the right side of their head.

It is revealed that eight years prior, Phoenix’s house burned down because a meth lab in the basement exploded. Raylan, a notorious drug dealer, was taken into custody after the explosion and sentenced to eight years. Norman found Phoenix unconscious while examining the burned house with Shadow, and took her home to fulfill his desire of having a daughter again.

After release, Raylan realized his daughter was still alive when he saw her leave flowers for her mother’s memorial at the burned house. A conflicted Phoenix tries to run away, but is knocked unconscious by Raul, one of Raylan’s cohorts.

Raylan releases his own dog to kill Norman, who is reluctant to kill the animal and traps it in the attic. The gang starts a fire in the house then drives off but, unbeknownst to them, Norman has bonded with the dog and manages to escape from the burning house. He finds Hernandez’s van, arms himself with the weapons, and leashes the dog so that it can lead him to the gang’s location.

At the gang’s hotel hideout, Raylan reveals that Phoenix’s real name is Tara and introduces her to her mother, who is alive but terminally ill. Tara’s mother explains that she had accidentally triggered an explosion while cooking meth. The accident exposed her to lethal chemicals, poisoning her internal organs. Unbeknownst to Tara, her parents have abducted her not out of love but because they need an organ transplant for Tara’s mother. They drug Tara and take her to a makeshift operating room, where a back-alley surgeon explains that, due to the lack of proper equipment, he’ll have to remove Tara’s heart while she is fully conscious.

A blackout stops the surgeon from extracting the heart. Raylan orders his men to fix it, but they’re ambushed by Norman, who picks them off one by one by exploiting the dark conditions. Raul, the last man standing, decides he doesn’t want to take part in Tara’s death and sides with Norman, pointing him to where Raylan, his wife, and the surgeon will escape with Tara. Norman intercepts the group at the hotel’s empty swimming pool and kills the surgeon. A scuffle between him and Raylan ensues and a stray gunshot hits Tara’s mother, causing her to bleed out. Norman gouges out Raylan’s eyes and leaves him for dead.

A severely wounded Norman tells Tara that everything her father said was true. He confesses to his crimes, including murder and rape, and tells her to flee to safety. Raylan, despite his injuries, appears and fatally stabs Norman. Before he’s able to finish him off, Tara stabs her biological father to death. Tara attempts to help Norman, claiming she can save him, to which he replies, “You already have,” before succumbing to his wounds. Tara leaves the hotel and heads to a children’s home she had seen earlier on. She approaches some kids playing, introducing herself as Phoenix.

Spoiler Alert

In a post-credits scene, the dog comes by Norman’s body, implying he might still be alive.

Cast

Stephen Lang as Norman Nordstrom / “The Blind Man” Brendan Sexton III as Raylan, a gang leader
Madelyn Grace as Phoenix, Norman’s adopted daughter
Adam Young as Jim Bob
Bobby Schofield as Jared
Rocci Williams as Duke
Christian Zagia as Raul
Steffan Rhodri as The Surgeon
Stephanie Arcila as Hernandez, former US Army Ranger and friend of Norman.
Diaana Babnicova as Billy

Credits:

Directed by Rodo Sayagues
Written by Fede Álvarez and Rodo Sayagues, based on characters by Álvarez and Sayagues
Produced by Fede Álvarez, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert
Cinematography Pedro Luque
Edited by Jan Kovac
Music by Roque Baños
Production: Screen Gems, Stage 6 Films, Ghost House Pictures, Bad Hombre
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing
Release date: August 13, 2021
Running time 98 minutes
Budget $15 million