Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Knock Knock (2015) - Horror Film Review

Knock Knock sounded like a terrible idea on paper; a home invasion film starring bland Keanu Reeves who has the emotional acting range of a vase. This film is directed by Eli Roth though (Cabin Fever, Hostel) and so my interest was successfully gained.

Reeves stars as family man Evan Webber who is left home alone for the weekend when his artist wife Karen and their two young children head off to stay at their beach house. Late at night Evan gets a knock at the door, answering it he discovers two teenage girls who are looking for their friends house. As it is pouring with rain he invites them in to dry off and call for a taxi, but it is not long before the duo have seduced Evan. The next day riddled with guilt he is horrified to then find out the girls were underage, he eventually manages to get rid of them and thinks it is all over with, but the following evening the girls turn back up, and this time they are there to teach him a lesson he will never forget...

The best thing about this movie is the excellent soundtrack, really cannot fault that at all and even ends on a classic Pixies track (that coincidentally I had been listening to on my drive to the cinema). It also does not look bad either, despite a small cast and a small location the set design is pretty solid. The main cast of Reeves, and the two psychos; Genesis (Lorenza Izzo who is actually Eli Roth's wife in reality) and Bel (Ana de Armas) are all easy on the eye and so it was not a bad film to watch, also nudity if that is your thing. The theme of paedophilia runs deep in this film with it pretty much sign posted that an event from at least one of the crazies pasts is what has set into motion their nefarious plans.

For a lot of the 99 minute run time I thought this was a terrible film, home invasion thrillers have been done to death and this seemed nothing too different. Reeves playing the guilt ridden husband and father increasingly tries to outdo himself with impassioned pleas and monologues where he tries to justify his actions, the two insane girls on the other hand are so crazy and over the top that they become increasingly irritating. A lot of Knock Knock sees Reeves tied to an office chair, it was quite humorous to see him wheeling himself around on the chair trying constantly to find a way out of his terrible situation.

This is where Knock Knock really steps up a gear, I came to the conclusion the decision to cast Reeves was a stroke of genius. Not just me but several other people in the cinema were laughing out loud at every single thing he does and says by the halfway point, such as seconds after getting hold of a weapon accidentally flinging it out of shot never to be seen again, or tied in his chair shouting empty threats and begging to be let go but with the monotone way he speaks coming across as absurd. This was not so bad it was good, this was a poor film, but it became bearable by Reeves's performance. The joke was on me though, the events gets increasingly bizarre and more silly until it dawned on me that this was all purposeful; Eli Roth was playing a joke on the audience it seemed to me! A real curve ball ending devolved the thriller into a farce and seemed to become a parody of home invasion films, the humour became more obvious and purposefully funny and I was left feeling I had been played for a fool.

The plot is not the best thanks to a fair few glaring plot holes and conveniences, not least the fact that despite living in a suburban neighbourhood in Los Angeles all the neighbours have apparently all left for the weekend which one of the girls usefully explains when Evan is in the back garden screaming his head off for help (though this could also be a jab at other home invasion films were no one ever intervenes to help). Also just how they came to choose him as their victim is never explained when they insinuate they had somehow been spying on him previous to first meeting him. Also, and minor spoilers here they state he is not their first victim yet with the astonishing amount of DNA they must have left at his house it is baffling how they have never been caught before.

While I did enjoy the fun ending (which had a frankly hilarious scene involving social media) the rest of the film did not stand up, Evan is flawed enough that I didn't really care if he escaped his fate or not, while Reeves does a terrible job of playing a loving father. The two girls I really wanted to be brought down a peg or two with their over the top antics reminding me of Harley Quinn from the Batman franchise but they barely ever have anything bad happen to them. This certainly has Roth's stamp mark on it but with its strong themes of sex and not too much going on this just didn't really appeal to me.



Mr. Xploit, Esquire said...

Roth seems like a smart enough guy, but I've always been iffy on his movies. Good to know that this one is about what it seems from the trailer.

Daniel Simmonds said...

Yeah I do think when he shines he can make some great films, this sadly was most certainly not!