Some doors should never be opened
Plot: A devoted father helps two stranded young women who knock on his door, but his kind gesture turns into a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand
Release Date: June 26th 2015
Keanu Reeves is all the rage right now and is seemingly one of the nicest guys working in Hollywood today, but his record in non-action roles is spotty at best, whereas Eli Roth’s career has always blown hot or cold since experiencing success with his directorial debut Cabin Fever, giving us a perfect storm of contributing factors that didn’t make me overly optimistic Knock Knock was going to be worth my time, but just encase I was willing to give it a go.
For one reason or another, home invasion films of varying degrees of quality became all the rage for roughly 10 years or so towards the end of the ’00s, with Lakeview Terrace, The Strangers, The Purge and White Settlers all coming out within quick succession, in fact at that point it looked as though we would be treated to at least one film from this sub-genre every year until the end of time, but by the time Knock Knock came out in 2015 you could tell directors were running out of ideas to make their films stand out.
So how does Roth attempt to make the film feel fresh? sex and nudity mostly, with a few touches of graphic violence, with Genesis (Izzo) and Bell (de Armas) felling more like plot devices rather than fully fleshed-out characters, with their actions and motivation never fully explained and although it is hinted at past traumas, it’s not delved into in the slightest.
As Evan, Reeves tries his hardest to keep the plot running along at a good pace, but unfortunately is hampered by some strange character decisions that might well have looked good on paper, but on film makes Evan look rather stupid. There are at least two times he had a chance to escape and or fight back, but doesn’t.
Now I’m not sure if it was done with a sequel in mind, but by far the biggest issue I found with Knock Knock is the ending, now I’m not going to go into spoilers here, I’m just going to say that the ambiguous nature in which the film ends makes some of Genesis and Bell’s actions entirely pointless!.
This isn’t to say that the film doesn’t have any good points, Roth does do a good job in building the tension early on in the film, with Reeves, Izzo and de Armas all committing to their roles well, it is such a shame that they didn’t have more to work with
So what you get when you combine an action star, a director made famous for gory horror films and a tired genre? you get Knock Knock, a semi-erotic thriller with hints of Hard Candy and a monologue about ‘free pizza’ that comes off as cheesy and leaves you deeply unsatisfied.