The Blind Man with the lethal skills returns in Don't Breathe 2. Eight years after the events of the original, blind army veteran Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) has settled into a quiet life with his 11-year-old adoptive daughter Phoenix (Madelyn Grace) at his house in the Detroit suburbs. Following a supply drop from Norman's army ranger friend Hernandez (Stephanie Arcila), he is reluctantly convinced to allow Phoenix to accompany Hernandez on a trip into town. However, while in town Phoenix catches the attention of the shady Raylan (Brendan Sexton III), who then shows up with a group of goons at Norman's house that night with the intention of kidnapping Phoenix.
Don't Breathe 2 is the follow-up to the 2016 home invasion horror film directed by Fede Alvarez, with Alvazrez's co-writer Rodo Sayagues picking up the directorial reins this time around. The film repeats the basic home-invasion premise of the original, except this time around the previously antagonistic “Blind Man” Norman Nordstrom is the protagonist of the story, as he sets out to protect his adoptive daughter Phoenix at all costs. However, it turns out that Norman hasn't exactly been truthful about how Phoenix came to be in his care, as his dark past comes back to haunt him.
There is a moment early on in Don't Breathe 2, where Norman Nordstorm's army ranger friend Hernandez calls him out for his guilt about “being a terrible person, who did terrible things.” While she is referencing his time as a soldier in Iraq, it also brings to attention the biggest criticism people would have, going into this film: How are we expected to suddenly root for a guy we previously saw having committed kidnapping, murder, and sexual assault? At the very least, co-writers Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues seemed to have figured this going in and have framed Norman as a very morally grey character, whose terrible acts of the past are a source of personal torment. In fact, it can almost be argued that 11-year-old Phoenix is the true protagonist of this story, with Norman being a dark and violent protector.
Speaking of dark and violent, Don't Breathe 2 is undoubtedly a gorier film than the original, though it comes at the cost of the nail-biting suspense. The point of Don't Breathe was for the protagonists to move quietly, as to not trigger Norman's heightened senses. However, with Norman now on the other side of the fence, Don't Breathe 2 is more about how he uses these heightened senses to kill off the very expendable group of thugs in incredibly gruesome ways. While no offense to the performance of Stephen Lang, Norman was actually a more interesting character in the first film when he was simply “The Blind Man” and you didn't know much of anything about him.
Overall, Don't Breathe 2 is a sequel that tries to take the plot in a different direction and ends up not being as successful as a result.