Don't Breathe 2 (2021) is a sequel that didn't need to be made, especially the way we got it
Sep. 13th, 2021
A sequel for this kind of makes sense, especially seeing how the last one ended, but not like this. I mean, you had so many options for a decent sequel, like bringing back Jane Levy as Rocky, seeing how that ending was left open-ended with her sister and her disappearing with the money, only to see on the news that Stephen Lang isn't actually dead and hasn't mentioned to the police about the missing money or the third intruder. But, we completely gloss over that to get a story we didn't want, a redemption arc for Mr. Turkey Baster. Yes, I know Stephen Lang's character has a name, Norman Nordstrom, and is commonly referred to as The Blind Man, but I'm calling him Turkey Baster from this point forward, because, holy shit, it doesn't matter how bad the other side of the coin is, I'm not going to feel bad or sorry for Turkey Baster, it's just not happening. And I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that could agree with that.
Apparently, Fede Alvarez, director, producer, and writer of the first and writer and producer of the second, meant for Turkey Baster to be an anti-villain in this. He's supposed to be the lesser of two evils. But he's still fucking terrible and evil, even in this movie, he's a fucking dickhead. The first one worked with this concept because the lesser of two evils in that one is a small group of young adults/teens breaking into a house to steal money so they can get out of their hellscape of a town and living situations. Yes, they're bad, and some of their actions are questionable and are things most viewers wouldn't do themselves. But they're just kids stealing and in comparison to Turkey Baster, they'd be the ones to root for because at least their actions are redeemable! I mean, holy shit, you kidnapped women, chained them in your basement, and turkey basted them! He couldn't even admit that he was a rapist because he 'didn't force himself on them'. Fede Alvarez also states that being an anti-villain means he thinks he's not the villain but we know he really is? But, several times in the movie he says he is... right? I mean, even at the end with his little redemption speech, he says how terrible he is. Something he defiantly wouldn't have done in the first. Several other characters also point this out in the movie. So, no?
Yes, I know that both sides in this film are meant to be seen as evil, but this entire thing down to the screenplay and dialog is acting as if it's redeeming Turkey Baster. I'm pretty sure anyone who sees this movie would feel that in some aspect. When you're going out of your way to let your audience know that you see him as this anti-villain, you're giving him a presence other than evil. No matter how you want to see it, you are changing this character's status away from evil, which is redemption. And it doesn't work. No one wants to forgive Turkey Baster.
I'm also so very lost on what shitheads looked at Don't Breathe, thought about how successful it was, decided upon making a sequel, and decided the sequel should be about Turkey Baster being a fucking 'anti-villain' instead of Rocky! Why the fuck? Hell, you could have kept Turkey Baster in the movie if you wanted to, but make him the villain again! Make him far more depraved and fucked up. Instead, we get a new villainous side that's just as bad as Turkey Baster so we don't really have anyone to root for. If you hand me a box and all that's inside is two turds, I'm just gonna throw it away thinking it's trash. I'll make it a little more clear; if No Country for Old Men (2007) was about three different variants of Turkey Baster, then no one would have cared as much. We would of all just wanted them all to die and end as soon as possible.
Don't Breathe 2 is also kind of lacking in its own genres. It's nowhere close to being a horror honestly. The first one is debatable whether or not it is, but one thing that's for sure, is every reveal in the first just got more horrifying as it got on. Could you ever imagine being in Cindy's or Rocky's position in that film? Or hell, being in any of the three intruders' position in the first film after realizing they just broke into the wrong fucking house? When Turkey Baster pulled the trigger on Money you could feel the fear in Alex and Rocky because it hit you just as hard. That fear and horror from the first are missing in the sequel. It's also listed as action and thriller, and I'll give it pass on those. More so the action than thriller, as I personally wouldn't classify it as a thriller myself, but I can see why others would.
This is also one of the rare occasions that I'm siding more with the critic score than the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
If you're genuinely interested in watching Don't Breathe 2, I'd highly suggest you stop reading now, avoid all trailers, and just go see it first. I don't want to ruin any possible experiences you may have with this film, and you may even like it far better than I did.
Don't Breathe 2 starts off with a very CGI house on fire panning up the road to a very CGI girl walking down the middle of the road and collapsing. I have no idea why that shot was necessary if it was going to look that bad, but whatever. Then we see that it's a little girl with a white streak of hair.
People coming into this movie, knowing the first one, thinking this is a sequel, will be confused as hell because my mind was going nuts trying to figure out her relevancy. I thought it might have been Rocky's sister Diddy, and maybe they were just showing a clip of the end of the movie again. Thinking maybe Turkey Baster caught up to Rocky and Diddy, and Diddy was just crawling down the road being the final survivor of whatever havoc Turkey Baster ensued upon them. But, it's not. It's someone new, and we learn this later on. But it feels like they drag the reveal out through the movie to make it feel like it's going to be this grandiose reveal. So I started thinking, maybe he tried basting some more women in a new creepy basement until he finally got his new child. Maybe the start of the movie was the mother of the child trying to escape the house with her child to get away from Turkey Baster, but only to fail. Because after the opening we get a time jump to 'eight years later' and see a bunch of scenes of Turkey Baster kind of training this new girl, like the demented fuck would with a kid of his own I'd assume. But it's not that either. Turns out Turkey Baster saved the kid from a meth lab explosion, that was the opening scene, the kid crawling away from her meth lab of a house on fire. That's... disappointing.
Turkey Baster has named the girl Phoenix and tells her that he's her birth father and that her mommy died in the house fire, as well as any photos left of her mother before dying. The only memory she really has of her is a song she'd occasionally sing. He doesn't let her out of the house, let her have friends, or go to school. She's essentially a prisoner. He's fucking terrible. Hernandez even tells him this when she comes by their house to drop off supplies. Hernandez eventually talks him into letting Phoenix come to town with her, and there we get another glimpse of how miserable she is as she sits in town imagining herself having friends and having fun in the park. Holy shit. I hate Turkey Baster. Why are we redeeming this guy again? She's literally sitting in town wishing that she was an orphan instead!
In town, we also learn Phoenix likes to go to her old house and leave flowers for her mother, and while she's there in her old house, her old burnt down house, she hears footsteps, so she runs away. At this point, Hernandez and Phoenix are followed by some obvious creepers. Especially since the camera just has to show that they have a red cooler in the back of their truck. You know, because of all that talk on the radio and TV about some organ harvesters on the loose, best watch out for them.
Oh boy, they are so clever, aren't they? How did they ever think of doing that? Those screen grabs were three minutes apart by the way. So... this is the type of movie we're watching. One where I guess the audience is just dumb, because why else would they have put that in the movie like that? They really think we some dum-dums.
Hernandez then takes Phoenix back to Turkey Baster, where she then tells him once again how fucking terrible he is, and that the girl shouldn't have to pay for that. Yeah, we get it, he's bad. We saw the first film, that's why we're watching this one. Mind you, at this point, it's still less than thirteen minutes into the film.
On Hernandez's way back to town, or to her house, the 'bad guys' kill her. But, I'm not sure why. Maybe just because she knows Phoenix and Turkey Baster? Or thinks that Turkey Baster is Phoenix's father? Maybe they think she's the fake mommy? But, as far as the audience knew, she was leaving and wouldn't come back for a week? Maybe more? We were also lead to believe these people harvested people's organs, so maybe they wanted her organs? But they killed her... in her car... don't you keep people alive when you harvest organs? I mean come on, one of the most popular urban legends is waking up in an ice bath missing an organ. Then they just leave her there. Don't even move the truck or her body. So, they really did kill her for no reason. If you meant for her to die for some reason, at least show your audience that somehow or convey that in some message, maybe have the 'bad guys' converse amongst themselves for a moment. So, at this point, it now just feels like they killed off one of the only two redeemable characters just because she wasn't a complete piece of shit, Phoenix being the other.
We then see a scene where their dog, Shadow, is hanging out on the porch and hears or sees something across the street, so Shadow goes to check it out, and he gets shot at but it hits a tree. Shadow just stands there like a deer in headlights...
And it just cuts to 'the bad guys' standing out front. I have an issue with this. So, right off the bat, we're lead to believe the dog Shadow has 'been taken care of' so they can break in and do bad guys stuff, yeah? So not only was there one gunshot, the one we saw miss and did not freak out or alert Shadow at all, but another gunshot that did him in, something we learn a little later as Turkey Baster just digs a bullet out with his bare hands and very precisely as well? What the fuck? All this was just happening right in front of the house, and Turkey Baster, the guy that we learned from the first movie has really great hearing and smell, he didn't hear either shot? At all? This doesn't alert anyone? Phoenix doesn't even hear either shot? I live in a pretty busy and noisy city, if so much as a firecracker were to go off within like a mile radius, I'd be able to hear it. I've heard gunshots and fireworks from blocks away, let alone my own front yard. So, no, just no.
Turkey Baster now has a scene where he gets dog food, walks through the house shaking his cup full of food for Shadow to hear, walks onto the porch, and feels for Shadow's bowl.
This is the point where he realizes something is wrong and Shadow is missing, so he goes looking for him, finds him shot dead, and does the stupid bullet retrieval from his guts. But, again, I have issues here. Shadow was just on the porch, and he wasn't eating. So, it was already late out, and he already had a full bowl. Did Phoenix feed Shadow and not tell Turkey Baster? That doesn't seem like something Turkey Baster would let fly. Why is he feeding Shadow again?
Anyways, this is pretty much the point where they realize he's blind and let him go on his dog seeking missing so they can search the house for Phoenix. And this is actually one of the few good scenes in the movie. We get some good tension as these bad people try finding this little girl in this house, as she uses tactics thought to her by Turkey Baster to avoid them, and we get some pretty good camera work and cinematography weaving through certain portions of the house like the banister as she's hanging off the side. Of course, that's cut short though because one of the baddies caught up to Phoenix at the back door, and we get the dumbest 'Michael Myers' style grab through the back door window, where Turker Baster grabs Jim Bob.
Whatever. This baddie gets away anyways due to a hammer's claw making its way into Turkey Baster's arm, so he goes to the garage to superglue it. Here, he gets ahold of his second baddie, Jared. So, of course, logically, he superglues this guy's mouth and nose close.
Okay, I'll give you some kudos for that. It's an interesting and cruel way to kill someone. And, he was just using the superglue, so it makes some sense in context. But, why let him go without knowing he's dead? And if you were forced to leave due to the other guy coming, then why didn't you quickly finish him off? These people killed your guard dog so they can break into your home and terrorize you and Phoenix, and the first guy you get your hands on that you can ensure his death, and you let him leave to find a way to live? Because that's what he does, he lives past this scene. You had the chance to dwindle the threat against you, and you don't? You literally shot Money the first chance you got, and there are plenty of methods of killing a person in that garage.
But the next baddie, Duke, isn't as lucky. This scene happens in the basement. Turkey Baster ensures guns can't be used in the basement, and Duke sees his big bad knife sitting there on the table, so he steps forwards to get it and accidentally steps on a drain.
And somehow Turkey Baster instantly knows to knock the knife he'd have no knowledge of out of Duke's hand as he grabs it? What? This makes no fucking sense. Does he have sonar? Is Turkey Baster a bat now? He's Bat Baster now I guess. What the fuck.
Besides that bullshit, this scene isn't that bad, it has some decent tension and action. The whole scene, I had some genuine concern for Phoenix and her well-being. It's only a little more than thirty minutes into the movie though, so not concerned she'd die, because even this movie isn't that dumb, but at least concerned she'd be harmed. But eventually, Duke is bested by Bat Baster blowing him up in a very unexpected and very convenient way. It definitely caught me off guard, but... no house integrity damage? Bat Baster and Phoenix are perfectly okay? Hmm... alright. Plausible. I'm no boom-boom expert.
Phoenix and Bat Baster then run off and end up in the Greenhouse, but the baddies obviously heard the big boom, so they're already on their tail and catch up to them in the Greenhouse. They were hidden pretty decently, and these baddies are the dumb kind that doesn't look behind stuff and all that, because you know, they're just hiding behind foliage, so I'm not exactly sure why, but Bat Baster pops out of the foliage to try and attack the main baddie, but gets knocked out right away. Bat Baster does this a lot in the movie and gets his ass kicked far more. I'm not totally against this, but it also doesn't make a lot of sense in context with what we know about him from the previous movie. If you want people to overpower him, I'm alright with this, but don't detract from what we know of him. There's another scene later on that highlights this a little better, so I'll delve deeper then.
We now learn that the main baddie, Raylan, is Phoenix's real daddy, dun dun dun. And how do we learn this?
They have the same white streak of hair! Yup, that's how she knows now that's he's the real daddy. It's an okay story angel, it's a bit weird, I'll admit, but it's actually likely. There are rare birthmarks that will cause a streak of white hair, as depicted in this article by Metro, and some birthmarks can be hereditary as stated by Better Health. We also get the whole meth lab reveal for Phoenix here and we're told Raylan was in prison for the past eight years, so that explains where he's been.
Bat Baster patiently waits for all the backstory to happen, and once we get all that great exposition that we totally wouldn't have preferred to see play out ourselves instead of lazily told to us, he gets up and turns into motherfucking Homer Simpson.
He's just hiding behind foliage! You're in a dark greenhouse at night with bright-ass flashlights looking for Bat Baster, you're gonna tell me you can't see that pasty-ass dude moving between those plants? Y'all the dum-dums.
Raylan tells Jared (the superglued guy) to take Phoenix to the van while he hunts that motherfucker. But Raylan and the goons leave the greenhouse before Jared does? Jared didn't start taking her to the van until all the goons left? Like, he just stood there until he was on his own on purpose? Because, him being alone last time was so effective, right? This proves dumb, because Phoenix put a pitchfork through the guy's foot, and honestly gave me a chuckle, so thanks for that. And of course, Bat Baster is still in the greenhouse so he pops out and gives us a pretty gnarly kill by ripping his face open with a shovel, fuck yeah, that was cool.
This pisses Raylan off, so he lets his dog loose on Bat Baster, and we get the really shitty cat and mouse between Bat Baster and this dog. And here we can really tell they're trying to redeem this piece of shit character because apparently Bat Baster doesn't want to harm the dog, so he traps him behind an old box spring.
Yeah, I don't care, you're still a piece of shit. And this 'redeeming' moment is in vain anyway, because once they get out of the house, he just uses the dog to find the baddies by making a leash and telling the dog to go home. Someone could just as easily argue that he had that idea from that get-go, and that's the only reason he saved the dog to begin with, to use the dog to find the baddies. But whatever.
Raul finds Phoenix so Raylan opens the red cooler in the back of the truck, the one they referenced earlier with that organ harvesters crap and... its molotovs. Oh... so they aren't organ harvesters? Okay. Raul asks Raylan what about his dog, and we pretty much get the point here that Raylan doesn't give two shits. So they set his house on fire. The dog escapes just fine, and we get this semi-over-the-top scene of Bat Baster jumping out and window and falling to safety through the greenhouse. Bat Baster walks to the street and collapses to his knees to watch his house burn.
I'm not exactly sure if they're trying to reference how he ended up getting Phoenix or what here, but I don't really get why it happened? Like, it wasn't that long or hard of a struggle to 'escape' the burning house, it didn't take up much screen time. Did they just burn it down as an excuse for Raylan to leave his dog? I know the story is telling us that this makes Raylan believe Bat Baster is dead, but that's dumb.
So, is Bat Baster the new Phoenix now? Is he Phoenix Bas-- I'm not going to finish that, we'll just stick to Bat Baster for now, his sonar may come on handy later.
Phoenix is brought to the baddies hideout/lab? It looks to be an abanded hotel. Here she's told her real name is Tara and that she's not a prisoner anymore and can do whatever she wants and she can leave if she wants to. So, she does.
The Surgeon is just hanging out in the hall of this dilapidated building, and that's a creepy image all on its own, a man that looks that clean and put together just giving you this creepy-ass look puffing on his cigarette. But as she's leaving, she hears the song she remembers her mommy singing as a child.
So, she obviously stops to check it out.
Oh, look, it's meth mommy! Turns out Bat Baster lied to her about everything, and her mom is still alive. So she cries and hugs her mommy, she now decides to stay. Phoenix goes back upstairs with her parents to get some more backstory, and they give her something to drink while she listens. Turns out the meth lab explosion destroyed her insides and mommy needs a new heart.
So, wait, they are organ harvesters then? Which is it? The organ harvester little side story in this movie isn't that terrible, but don't flip back and forth. You hinted to us that they were, they weren't, and now we learn they actually are. Would be nice if the story could pick a lane. The idea of these two people running around town kidnapping people and stealing organs to only learn later they need a better matching donor is a pretty sinister plotline and kind of intriguing. But when you give doubt to that idea, it all falls through. I'm not sure what we're lead to believe.
But, yes, mommy needs a matching donor, one from a relative! And now Phoenix doesn't feel too well, Mr. Strark.
The only point in the movie that I could find to be considered horror, this would be absolutely terrifying, to find out you've just been drugged and the people in front of you want to harvest your heart, holy shit.
So, everyone in this movie is just terrible. I feel this would have been a better movie if her parents weren't trying to kill her. Bat Baster fighting to keep the girl he kidnapped from her meth-head parents because he finds himself to be the better option. Something like that. But no, it's either Bat Baster or these fuckwards, and both those options are complete trash. Yeah, Bat Baster is probably better in comparison, but he's still a monster. Technically with that logic, wouldn't Charles Manson look better in comparison to Hitler?
Phoenix passes out from the drugs, so they prep her for surgery. Bat Baster wakes up from a nap outside his burning house and walks to Hernandez's vehicle to once again show us how pointless killing her was. Wait, she was that close to the house when they stopped her and killed her? Or, did he walk for a while, and the movie not show it? Because while watching, it seems like he just walks a short distance to the vehicle. Either way, Bat Baster makes a leash and bell and follows doggy home.
He also gets to the baddie's hideout just in time with a deus ex machina as he cuts off the power just as the surgeon is lowering the bone saw to Phoenix's chest.
Raylan realizes his dog leads Bat Baster right to them, so in a fit of anger, he shots the dog's food while he's eating it. What a low life. He even calls him loyal while doing it.
Don't worry though, this doggy lives, he ran off.
Bat Baster is in the building now, and he gets into a fight with Jim Bob in... this... wet area? I still don't know what this room is at all, or why it's all wet, but it's a big open space with bright lights and looks pretty on camera, probably the only reason it was used, that and what happens in the next scene of course. They definitely made Bat Baster more inept in this fight because he takes quite a bit of beating here. It doesn't really show that he has these 'talents' that he's using in other scenes. Bat Baster kills Jim Bob with a very unsatisfying off-camera hit to the head with a hammer. You had a budget of 15 million and you give us an off-camera kill? Lazy.
Raul and three other goons get to the wet room a little later, and Bat Baster is just laying in the water.
The three goons approach him as Raul stays back, and their steps make ripples in the water.
Bat Baster of course uses his magic sonar abilities to pinpoint exactly where these guys are and, pop pop pop, takes out all three, no sweat. Easy breezy beautiful Covergirl. What the fuck am I watching? What was that? Explain yourselves, please. How was he getting his ass kicked earlier by all these meth-head goons if he's supposed to have these badass abilities? Why did he not use his magic water sonar abilities against Jim Bob? Because it would have helped him, Jim Bob fucked him up. Take that in for a second, someone named Jim Bob fucked him up, but he's a badass and a force to reckon with.
Raul lets him go and tells him Raylan plans to kill the girl, and he's not on board with that. But, Raul, you were the one that grabbed her and put her in the van at Bat Baster's house, you knew your hideout had this makeshift medical area for surgery, you knew your cook is looking for a new heart and needs one from a relative, you knew Phoenix is their daughter. I'm sorry, but are you that dense? What did you think was going to happen? For fucks sake.
Bat Baster and Raylan have their final showdown in the pool room, but it's far too dark in there so Raylan shoots out some planks to add light to the room.
But, there's already light coming from between the boards. And when he shoots out a plank, a different and far brighter light comes from those areas? How? And how come when she shoots a plank, it just knocks the whole plank off like he punched it or something instead of bullet holes? Because I'm pretty sure bullets make bullet holes.
Bat Baster smokes out the room so no one can see, so Raylan shoots likes a madman and ends up killing meth-mommy, Josephine. Phoenix is handcuffed to her and Josephine is in an eclectic wheelchair, the wheelchair and mom end up falling into the empty pool, and Phoenix is left there holding onto her dead, hanging mother that's dangling into this empty pool. And Phoenix is literally holding on by her tippy toes.
Yes, this little girl is holding onto her dead mother by her fucking tippy toes. Yes, she's a meth-head and sick and more than likely underweight, but you still expect us to believe this little girl is holding onto a whole ass adult by her tippy toes?
The ending doesn't get much better. Bat Baster then digs his thumbs into Raylan's eyes saying "No you see what I see" as the movie gets a second chuckle out of me.
And of course, Bat Baster dies too. We get this really fucking shitty redemption speech from Bat Baster first, and an equally cheesy and shitty scene of him dying in Phoenix's lap like I'm supposed to feel sorry for this sick suck. I'm actually happy for her, she now gets to get the fuck away from you.
Oh, and Phoenix's wish of becoming an orphan at the beginning of the movie comes true as Phoenix walks up to Billy at the orphanage and asks if there's any room for her in this almost Disney feeling ending as if this is a good ending? Are you proud of that ending? It feels like you're proud of it. Because that was a very unsatisfying ending.
Oh, just kidding. We get a mid-credit scene of Raylan twitching his fingers. Did you really think you'd get another sequel out of this? I hope you don't. You've already made it clear you cannot do it very well.
I'm glad I'm done with this movie. It was honestly so very disappointing. The original was such a great film, and it came out at a good time, as there weren't that many good mainstream horror movies coming out. This honestly feels more like a cash grab, especially since it came out five years later. I know the original has its flaws and is in no means a perfect film, CinemaSins did a good job of showing just that, but this in no way lives up to that.
I don't know, what do you think? Did you enjoy it better than I did? Am I just nitpicking too much?
My Media Opinion (MO) for this film is 03/10.