DON’T BREATHE 2 – Review by Susan Granger

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Back in 2016, there was a horrific home invasion slasher/thriller from writer/director Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead), subversively pitting a trio of teenage thugs against an old, blind former Navy SEAL, whose backstory identifies him as a kidnapper/rapist/murderer.

Now there’s a sequel – set eight years later – in which the same blind vet, Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang), is raising an 11 year-old daughter, Phoenix (Madelyn Grace). He tells her that her mother died in a house fire and that he only had time to rescue her, which – of course – is not quite the truth.

Living in his isolated cabin, Phoenix begs to go to a real school and play with other kids, but Norman deems that too dangerous. Instead, he continues to home-school her in addition to teaching her strenuous survival skills.

On a rare trip into town, accompanied by her Rottweiler, Phoenix is cornered by a nasty man in a public washroom. That’s cocky Raylan (Brendon Sexton III), who follows her home with his creepy cohorts. When they lure Norman out to look for his missing dog, they go in, looking for Phoenix, who tries to elude them.

Once Norman is aware of what’s actually happening, he tries to protect traumatized Phoenix but they grab the confused girl – and she learns the truth about her past, along with revelations about an organ trafficking ring.

Working again with co-writer and debut director Rodo Sayagues, along with cinematographer Pedro Luque, Alvarez tries to turn this repulsive, reprehensible villain, who admits he’s a “monster,” into an action antihero – and the brutal, hyper-violent redemption simply doesn’t work.

FYI: There’s a post-credits scene in which a dog runs up to the ‘dead’ blind man and licks his hand; his fingers move ever so slightly, implying that he might still be alive.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Don’t Breathe 2 is a diabolical 4, truly despicable.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.