Director | Eli Roth
Producers | Miguel Asensio, Colleen Camp, John T. Degrate, Cassian Elwes, Nicolás López, Eli Roth
Writers | Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolás López, Eli Roth
Cast | Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas
Run Time | 99 mins
Certificate | 18
Plot | After sustaining a shoulder injury that requires rest, happily married architect Evan Webber (Reeves) has the house to himself on Father’s weekend. What should be an uneventful few days kicks off with Webber smoking a little pot and playing his favourite KISS album, while catching up on work. With evening comes a fierce storm, both in the form of heavy rain and a pair of soaked-to-the-skin femme fatales. Over the next forty eight hours or so, Genesis and Bel (Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas) proceed to turn Webber’s life upside down.
Review | Known primarily for creativity at the gorrier end of the spectrum, Eli Roth may surprise a few people as he serves up an entertaining contemporary thriller horror.
Unlike his back catalogue, Roth slavishly insists on teasing the audience with what might be. From the moment Genesis and Bel turn up on Evan’s doorstep, we know what is going to happen. But Roth makes us wait, and wait, and wait some more. This may sound like a criticism, but it really isn’t. Part of the strength of Knock Knock is the building of tension throughout the second act. Initially the girls simply seem thankful for their hosts kindness, but slowly their actions begin to betray an ulterior motive. It’s not so much as them suddenly crossing a line, but moreso that they dance upon the line of decency, taking an occasional step over, only to leap back when Evan reacts. They are very much cats playing with their dinner. This is the stronger half of the film.
Once the inevitable finally happens, Knock Knock veers more into standard horror territory, and it suffers a little for it. Thankfully, an entertaining (if occasionally clunky) script and a few set pieces go some way to keep this one on the rails. While inferior to the opening half, the back end does have one fantastically scripted rant for Webber that Reeves nails, as well as darkly humourous set piece involving Facebook.
As for the principle players, all three of Reeves, Izzo and de Armas put in decent shifts, and each have a few memorable moments scattered throughout.
The Verdict | Ultimately, Knock Knock shows some potential for greatness, but has to settle for simply ‘good’. The squirm inducing teasefest that is the first half is very well done, and the second has a cracking line that is certain to go down in cult film history. Not a classic then – nor even a must-see – but Knock Knock is a little smarter than it gets credit for, a little better than the trailer suggests, and certainly worthy of your attention at the very least.