Is ‘Don’t Breathe 2’ the best horror film of 2021?
Don’t Breathe 2 is the sequel to 2016 surprise horror hit Don’t Breathe. Horror fans loved the film’s smart subversions to the home invasion genre tropes that had become fairly stale. Don’t Breathe rocked the box office, grossing $89.2 million in North America with a budget of just $9.9 million.
The success of Don’t Breathe meant that a sequel would almost certainly be on the way. Horror legend & producer Sam Raimi said, “it’s only the greatest idea for a sequel I’ve ever heard. I’m not kidding.”
Will Don’t Breathe 2 be able to live up to those lofty expectations?
Don’t Breathe 2’s central premise is essentially the same as Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
T2 saw Arnold Schwarzenegger’s unstoppable killer robot flip sides and become a defender of humanity. Don’t Breathe’s fearsome antagonist Norman Nordstrom, played by Stephen Lang, walks away from the events of the first film and channels his mania into protecting a young girl.
Now, fans of the first film will remember that Lang’s Nordstrom is guilty of some terrible crimes. In Don’t Breathe, a group of robbers target the blind Gulf War veteran’s house after learning that he is believed to be sitting on a fortune. The intruders uncover a pregnant woman being held captive by Nordstrom, who violently attacks them.
Don’t Breathe 2 asks the question, what would it take to redeem a brutal & violent ghoul? The sequel sees Lang’s villain Nordstrom’s wrath unleashed against a violent gang looking to kidnap a young girl named Phoenix. While some audiences may believe Nordstrom is not worthy of any benediction, this film at least attempts to reckon with a difficult moral quandary.
A happy ending?
Some critics have argued that the ambitions of the film fall short.
Many simply can’t believe that a character as grotesque as Nordstrom works as a redemptive hero. Critics have lauded Lang’s menacing performance. Lang, who often plays gruff villainous types like Avatar’s Colonel Quaritch or Tombstone’s Ike Clanton, manages to play an anti-hero well.
While critics remain largely unimpressed, audiences have enjoyed Don’t Breathe 2, which opened at number two in the box office & grossed $14 million. During its second week, the film slipped to number four. Despite the drop, Don’t Breathe 2 still fared better than new releases Reminiscence, The Night House, and The Protege.
Don’t Breathe 2 is the latest in a large crowd of horror sequels to come out in 2021. Spiral: From the Book of Saw, Escape Room: Tournament of Champions, The Forever Purge, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, and A Quiet Place Part II have already come out this year. Many of these sequels pale in comparison to their preceding films.
Candyman, Halloween Kills, Terrifier 2, and a new Resident Evil film are expected to come out later this year. These movies will look to buck the trend of underperforming sequels & reboots. Candyman, from director Nia DaCosta & producer Jordan Peele, is one of the most highly anticipated horror films of the year that is likely to be a box office monster.
James Wan’s Malignant is set to come out in September. Wan’s impressive track record as the creator of the Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring franchises suggests his forthcoming original horror film just may be a contender for the best horror film of the year. Malignant will be released simultaneously in theaters & on HBO Max.
Last Night in Soho is Edgar Wright’s upcoming time travelling horror film. It will be Wright’s first feature film since 2017’s Baby Driver. Horror visionary Guillermo del Toro’s new film Nightmare Alley is expected later this year, though the film is said to contain no supernatural elements.
What did you think about Don’t Breathe 2? What horror movies are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!