Stephen Lang Explains Why Don’t Breathe 2 Had The Potential To Be A ‘Rich’ And Satisfying Sequel

Stephen Lang in Don't Breathe 2

The following story contains very mild spoilers for the upcoming sequel Don’t Breathe 2. Nothing plot spoilery, but a few theme bits you might not want to know, so proceed cautiously, if you choose.

The horror genre specializes in sequels. Heck, we have SIX Paranormal Activity movies, with a seventh on the way. That’s ludicrous. Every once in a while, though, a horror sequel does more than just regurgitate what worked in its predecessor. It thinks outside of the box, and elevates the game in ways that the audience does not expect. Don’t Breathe 2 is one of those horror movies. The first half feels vaguely similar to the plot of the original, with The Blind Man (Stephen Lang) dealing with intruders who shouldn’t be in his home. But then the movie pivots, and in the above interview clip, Lang tells CinemaBlend that this is exactly why he saw Don’t Breathe 2 as an opportunity to provide a “rich” follow up to a surprise hit.

The twist that was waiting for audiences at the end of Don’t Breathe was an unexpected gut punch, a horrifying reveal that has ruined turkey basters for most aspiring chefs. A traditional sequel might have followed the characters of Rocky (Jane Levy) and Diddy (Emma Bercovici), who we last saw boarding a train for California.

But from the opening frame of Don’t Breathe 2, director Rodo Sayagues (who co-wrote the original) makes it clear that we are not picking up the thread of the first story, and instead are going in unexpected new directions. Stephen Lang told CinemaBlend that the main reason why he never feared that Don’t Breathe 2 would simply recycle what worked about Don’t Breathe is because he has placed full trust on Sayagues and producer Fede Alvarez, who serve as gatekeepers for this franchise. Lang said:

It never would have occurred to me that that would happen with this, knowing Fede and Rodo the way I do. And also probably just sort of knowing myself, that I didn’t even entertain it, in a way. Look, whatever I had been given, I would read and try to see how it could be mined in new ways. As circumstances turned out, what they gave me was very rich indeed.

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You can understand why Stephen Lang might be protective of the plot developments of this character. He created The Blind Man in the first film, and if this franchise has any hope of continuing, he needs to fight to ensure that the story is doing right by him. The moment an audience loses interest or faith in a central character, there’s no motivation to return.

Don’t Breathe 2 gives you plenty of reasons to spend more time in the presence of The Blind Man. Just be aware that when he is around, it’s usually very unpleasant for everyone in his vicinity. See how the story of Norman (Lang) develops when Don’t Breathe 2 opens exclusively in theaters on August 13.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.