Film: Don't Breathe 2 (Showing in Theatres)
Duration: 100 minutes
Director: Rodo Sayagues
Cast: Stephen Lang, Brendan Sexton III, Madelyn Grace, Adam Young, Bobby Schifield, Rocci Williams and Stephanie Arcila.
Movie Rating: ***
Despite being a skilfully crafted horror-thriller with nail-biting suspense and gore, 'Don't Breathe 2' fails to deliver the immersive experience of its first edition, which was released in 2016.
The first edition was a simple story of a burglary gone awry, but this one is a bit more complex. Taking place about eight years after the last film, the plot is not about just some intruders in the same terrifying house of a blind man, who is now living with Phoenix (Madelyn Grace), a girl in her early teens.
Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang), the blind Navy Seal veteran is fiercely overprotective of Phoenix who we are made to believe is his daughter. She is lonely and rebellious. When Nordstrom is talked into letting the girl go into town, she is noticed by a strange man who sets a chain of events into motion and the motive of these intruders is much more devious than mere burglary.
Initially, with Nordstrom having to save himself and Phoenix from the three intruders who are pure sociopaths, comes closest to echoing the first edition, which is fairly standard. The intruders appear birdbrained.
During one of the face-offs, Jared (Bobby Schofield) winds up with his lips and nose sealed with some sort of glue. His dimwitted comrade Jim Bob (Adam Young) pierces a screwdriver through his cheeks so that Jared may breathe.
The trio was sent to the Nordstrom house by Raylan (Brendan Sexton III) who had an agenda of his own. Deaths and gore are just a natural progression to the plot.
Lacking novelty factor
While the actors are all-natural and sincere in their performances, which make the film look real, it is their cardboard-thin characters that allow the suspension of disbelief. The novelty factor is no more in Stephen Lang's Norman Nordstrom. He is still intimidating but appears tired and jaded.
Madelyn Grace as Phoenix is cute and lovable. Stephanie Arcila in a small role, as Hernandez the veteran army ranger and Norman's only connection with society, is poised and polished.
The action sequences are intensely pulsating and gory in parts, and for most of the parts you can anticipate the result. The scene that stands out is when Nordstrom acts dead lying in the shallow pool of water, and he responds to the ripples created.
Cinematographer Pedro Luque's camera work is certainly worth mentioning. Each frame in the film, with its atmospheric lighting, is picture perfect and visually stimulating but the pulse is missing due to the convolutedly woven drama.