2016 saw the debut of low-budget horror flick Don’t Breathe. The suspenseful, thrilling story about blind veteran Norman Nordstrom (Stephen Lang) fighting off home invaders proved a big hit with viewers.

Now, Norman is back to combat a new set of invaders in Don’t Breathe 2. But this time, he’s not just defending his home or his money—he’s defending his daughter.

Don’t Breathe 2 Review

Don’t Breathe 2 is a sequel that walks the line between keeping things the same and doing a 180. At its core, it’s still a home invasion story, getting its thrills from a few grotesque kills, but mostly from creating an atmosphere of dread and suspense. This film aims to up the stakes of the original by giving Norman something more to fight for (11-year-old Phoenix, played by Madelyn Grace) and something more difficult to fight against (a team of ex-military baddies).

But the biggest shift comes from how the films position Norman himself. While originally set up as the antagonist, Don’t Breathe 2 slides him more solidly into a sort of “antihero” role—a deeply troubled man, but one willing to do anything to protect his daughter.

That’s certainly a compelling idea, but the film doesn’t quite pull off the depth of the relationship between Norman and Phoenix to sell it. (Overall, Don’t Breathe 2 really struggles to develop interesting and believable characters with the right emotional depth.) And since that relationship is intended to be the core difference between Norman and invasion-leader Raylan (Brendan Sexton III)… Well, the lines aren’t drawn as distinctly as they could be.

Instead, the film spends a fairly significant amount of time convincing you of which sadistic killer should get to claim moral superiority by focusing on how they treat dogs. Raylan, the dog killer = Big Bad. Norman, not a dog killer = Good Enough. This is not one incident, but a recurring theme in the film.

Don't Breathe 2

It’s things like that preventing Don’t Breathe 2 from reaching the height of the original film. While there are still incredible action sequences and great moments of tension and suspense, they’re undercut by a certain amount of silliness resulting from clunky dialogue and underdeveloped characters. By the time those things stack up to the climactic final act, several of the twists end up eliciting an awkward chuckle instead of a shocked gasp.

Overall, Don’t Breathe 2 isn’t a bad film. There’s still enough action and suspense throughout to keep things entertaining, and there are some strong cinematic choices that help bring the world to life. But this sequel simply doesn’t reach the depth of its premise or its predecessor. If you don’t expect too much from this movie, it’s still a good watch. But if you’re seeking out the powerful impact of the first Don’t Breathe… well, don’t hold your breath.

Don’t Breathe 2 hits theaters August 13.