Friday, October 09, 2015




When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse. A sexy new thriller from director Eli Roth and written for the screen by Eli Roth & Nicolás López & Guillermo Amoedo and story by Anthony Overman and Michael Ronald, KNOCK KNOCK stars Keanu Reeves as the family man who falls into temptation and Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas as the seductresses who wreak havoc upon his life, turning a married man's dark fantasy into his worst nightmare. KNOCK KNOCK will be released by Lionsgate Premiere in theaters and On Demand on October 9th. Written by Lionsgate


Ratings: 6.0/10 from 3,570 users Metascore: 69/100 


This is Evan Webber, he used to be a DJ but then changed careers to become an architect. ©Lionsgate

I had two movies to pick from and I chose this one...

Okay, so this review was supposed to have come out after Regression but before Pan because that's the order I watched it in but since Knock Knock had a limited release worldwide and had already played in some countries as early as June I figured it could wait and in fact in only opens in the US on the 9th which still gives me time to put in my two cents before it opens. Secondly, on the day that I had preview passes to watch Knock Knock I also had passes to watch Astérix: Le domaine des dieux (Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods) (2014) but that film had been out a year and I doubt many would be looking for a review on it. Those that were would have probably seen the film by now. So I chose the film that many had yet to see for the purposes of my blog. But I was still torn between the two because when I looked at the ratings for the two films on IMDB  the cartoon that came out last year had a higher rating. Not that I trust IMDB all that much but still it had a higher rating that a film with a well known actor in the cast. But I still went for Knock Knock. I think I would have had more fun watching Asterix and Obelix.

These two show up at his doorstep soaking wet and claiming they're lost. What's a man who hasn't had sex in about a month to do? Especially if he's a nice guy. ©Lionsgate

So Knock Knock a film that is reportedly an update of a 1977 film titled Death Game that basically had the same plot. Directed by Eli Roth who gained fame after directing horror films Hostel (2005) and Hostel: Part II (2007), both films were so explicitly violent and bloody that he earned membership in a group of filmmakers dubbed the Splat Pack whose other members include the members responsible for the Saw franchise (James Wan, Darren Lynn Bousman), Robert Rodriguez, Rob Zombie and Alexandre Aja. You don't need to know about all of them to figure out the type of movie they all make, as long as you know what Saw is like and about you'll get the type of film that they're all popular for. Eli Roth is also known for his role as Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009). That being said I've not seen his hostel films and am not a fan of that particular genre. Also comparing his previous work and the genre he's most associated with to Knock Knock, Knock Knock has a distinct lack of blood and gore, not a dismembered limb in sight.

So he gives them robes to wear after they take off their wet clothes and reads a story to them. ©Lionsgate

So what's Knock Knock all about? Well, I'm not going to bore you with a recap and I'm not going to be spilling the beans and give you all the spoilers. It's basically about a guy whose family leaves him alone for the weekend and when he's all by himself a couple of young and attractive women knock on his door looking for a little help. Being the nice guy he is of course he helps although reluctantly at first but then things soon become weird as the young women soon begin to seduce him and after seducing him begin to go crazy accusing him of pedophilia, adultery and tying him up and torturing him. They eventually have enough of their fun when he's willing to admit to their crazy claims and is willing to repeat and admit it all to his wife but knowing that he'd take the opportunity to ask his wife for help during the call they instead post a video of him having sex with them on his facebook page. The end. Okay maybe I did give away the story and gave up some spoilers.

They're of course very appreciative of the robes and story time and want to show their appreciation but Evan is a little uncomfortable. ©Lionsgate

Anyway, let me begin by saying I was not at all impressed with this film. It's a simple story, a simple premise so of course it's going to be predictable but that's not the problem. I expect predictability in movies these days. And when it comes to movies like these you're not really expecting a really good, deep and thought provoking script either which in this case none of what I just said applies. The script is just really bad. The girls just spout a bunch of gibberish to fill the silence. Whenever they accuse Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) of seducing them, taking advantage of them, of adultery and being a pedophile their reason are ridiculous. Yes he could have said no to their seduction but that would be like offering a starving animal its favorite food and when the animal eats it all torturing it for doing so. If the police did what they did to Evan it's called entrapment and if I'm not mistaken it's illegal. If what the police did is proven as entrapment no matter what the criminal may have done they're still free to go. And I think this applies here too. Their torture methods also border on being silly. When a family friend and co-worker comes by and the girls torture him till he slips and hits his head and dies from it, that too was just ridiculous to watch.

Things happen that evening that I can't show on this blog but let's just say Evan doesn't appreciate what they do the next morning so he sends them home. Or so he thinks. ©Lionsgate

Then there's the performance given by the three actors. Let's begin with Keanu shall we. We know him first when he showed up in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1998) where he played a goofy kid, he did that very well. Then Point Break (1991) which put him in the action hero role which he repeated again in Speed (1994) he didn't do a bad job there too. There were also a couple of dramatic roles like My Own Private Idaho (1991), Dracula (1992) and The Devil's Advocate (1997), and people didn't complain much about him in those. But it's safe to say that the most memorable stuff he's done is when he plays the thoughtful and aloof characters in the action and dramatic genres or in the case of the Bill & Ted franchise the goofy guy. Now in Knock Knock it opens with him being a loving husband and father. The loving husband is fine but when he does the loving father part it just didn't feel genuine. When he begins to goof around with the kids it felt awkward and forced. Unnatural for Keanu Reeves. But that's not the end of it. When the girls begin to torture him and play their games with him his cries and screams and pleas for help sound ridiculous to me. His swearing too sounded silly and comical. I was snickering during the torture scenes. His fear and anger didn't  come through much in his performance I felt only his annoyance did.

The next night the girls come back and decide that Evan's home needs a whole new look. ©Lionsgate

Then there's the girls. Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas) who try to appear threatening and crazy but to me didn't. All they did look like were silly and ditzy party girls trying to make some sort of point, trying to give some sort of valid reason for their behaviour and what they're doing to Evan. Their torture methods seemed to me to be far more annoying than life threatening, nothing they do to Evans seems to suggest that they were really going to kill him. The only death that occurs in the film happens accidentally and though their reactions and subsequent actions seem somewhat insensitive and callous for me it still falls under 'what a ditzy party girl would do' instead of what the 'calculative psychopath' would do. The girls honestly aren't bad actors but what they do with the characters and the dialogue provided is so silly, so inane that there's little meat to their performance and characters.

They also decide to have a little impromptu game show. Guess who's the host and who's the glamourous co-host? ©Lionsgate

If this movie is supposed to a parody of the genre, a film mocking the source material even then I still think this movie did all that good a job. I didn't find it all that humorous or funny. I snickered here and there but more out of amusement at the ridiculousness on the screen than anything else. I don't think that's what the director is going for. If this is supposed to be an homage to the original source or an attempt  to refresh the original for a new generation I think the new generation will find the film too tame and this coming from the director of Hostel says something about this movie. Sometimes when I think about this movie I get the feeling that all Knock Knock is is a reason to put the two female leads in the spotlight. A vehicle to showcase whatever it is that the director or the producers see in them. Why do I think that? Well, considering that other than Keanu Reeves every possible scene has them in it and in some state of undress or in tight and tiny clothes. And while they're in them they don't really say anything interesting.

The game involves asking stupid question to which they have ridiculous reasonings to ask those question. If Evan gets it wrong he gets to listen to a Justin Bieber song really loudly. ©Lionsgate

Knock Knock is labelled in some promotional efforts as an erotic thriller and that I think is the draw for this movie. An attempt at teasing a certain demographic in order to put them into the seats of this film. Suggesting to them that they'll get to see a lot more of the girls than just the face and limbs. Here in Malaysia, since it is an islamic country, those 'erotic' scenes have been taken out so you're left with the thriller part and sadly it's not at all thrilling. So think about that, what is this movie without the erotic and when there's nothing all that thrilling about it? And then take away a decent story, decent script and decent performances and what are you left with? Nothing much really. Just a waste of money and a waste time.

Honestly, at the end of this movie I regretted not choosing Asterix and Obelix. I've always liked them and have read all their comics, I think. And although sometimes things get lost in the translations and the adaptation from comic to screen at the very least it can't have been as bad as Knock Knock was for me.

At the end of play time with the girls Evan gets to be a lawn ornament. ©Lionsgate

So who should watch this mess? If you're a fan of Eli Roth's work probably give this a miss, whatever he's famous for, whatever his trademark is, I don't think it shows up here. If you're a fan of Keanu Reeves the only reason to watch him in this is to see a whole other side of him as an actor that you've probably never seen before and even then only go see it if you're morbidly curious. You can't unsee what you'll see. If you're into looking at pretty girls, sure go ahead because they are attractive and their performance should please those going for that reason. If you're a fan of the genre, and I do mean the genre that includes the original film as well as other B-Grade horror/thriller titles then why not, maybe you can tell me whether it's an homage, a parody or a satire of the genre or whatever.

I'm going to give this film the lowest score I've ever given a film, a 1 out of 5. Didn't enjoy it at all. 90 minutes of my life I'll never get back...

So here's the trailer to this mess. Have a look.




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