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Don't Breathe 2 Filmmakers Respond To Backlash Over The Teaser Trailer

In "Don't Breathe," a group of three serial burglars break into the home of a Gulf War veteran (Stephen Lang) they learn supposedly possesses $300,000 in cash, ripe for the taking. Furthermore, when scouting the site of their imminent robbery, the trio learns that their target is blind, which they infer will make their heist easier. Of course, as soon as they enter his home, the opposite proves to be true, and The Blind Man turns out to be an almost supernaturally powerful adversary, retaining a high level of combat proficiency from his military years.

The first trailer for the sequel "Don't Breathe 2" revealed that the film will focus on The Blind Man as its central character, rather than positioning him as the antagonist to a central group in the manner of countless other horror franchises like "Halloween" or "Friday the 13th" before it. As noted by IGN in a piece about his transition into the film's main character, some have found that decision controversial. Midway into its runtime, the first "Don't Breathe" reveals The Blind Man to be a murderer and even a perpetrator of sexual assault. As such, those opposed to his newfound central role felt uncomfortable with the prospect of the film asking for audience sympathy for such a character.

Now, in an interview with Total Film Magazine (recounted online on GamesRadar), Fede Álvarez, director of "Don't Breathe" and producer of "Don't Breathe 2," has weighed in on the controversy, defending the decision to center The Blind Man without justifying the character's prior actions.

The Blind Man isn't a hero

Fede Álvarez began his response to the "Don't Breathe 2" backlash by declaring that, "we like to f*** with people." He then addressed the issue with more nuance, explaining that he views the film following "The Blind Man" in the same manner as a series like "Game of Thrones" that asks for empathy for similarly monstrous characters. He went on to explain that The Blind Man is "more of an anti-villain. He may think he's not, or do some things that'll make him escape it temporarily, but he is. He's a shadow character, not so much the protagonist. There's so much more to the story."

Rodo Sayagues, the director of "Don't Breathe 2," also noted that the decision to center The Blind Man is intended to add a dose of mystery to the sequel. "If it's clear who the good guys and bad guys are, you know who's gonna make it, right?" asked Sayagues, via GamesRadar.

In short, then, "Don't Breathe 2" will focus on The Blind Man as its central character, but will not ask for audiences to forgive his past actions. The fact that Álvarez refers to the character as an "anti-villain" and that Sayagues characterizes his central role as intended to subvert genre tropes suggest that both filmmakers are in agreement that he deserves no sympathy. The decision, then, seems to be in the name of unpredictability rather than setting up the character's redemption.

Barring any pandemic-related delays, "Don't Breathe 2" will be released on August 13.