HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Knock Knock
HTS Overall Score:76
I saw the trailer for “Knock Knock” late last year and I had to say I was instantly intrigued. Eli Roth and Keanu Reeves together for a twisted thriller? Yeah, I’m in. The trailer alone looked dark and disturbing, which is right up Eli Roth’s ally, and with the addition of Keanu, who has been doing some GREAT stuff lately, I was sure it would at least be entertaining. Boy was I wrong! “Knock Knock” turned out to be a film that made me sit with jaw hanging to the floor, and not because I was in awe. Stupidity in a horror film is pretty much a given, but the sheer amount of plot holes, wasted opportunities and plain inconsistent characters made sitting through this hour and forty minute experience a real chore. Reeves gives one of the worst experiences since “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, and I mean he’s REALLY bad. So bad that it actually almost turned 180 degrees and ends up being slightly entertaining due to the amusement factor.
Loosely a remake of “Death Game” from 1977, “Knock Knock” does a reverse psycho thriller where the innocent home owner is invaded by pure psychotics. This time instead of the trembling house wife, we have Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves), a family man who’s got the house to himself for the weekend as his wife goes on a business trip. Trying to work on a project he gets interrupted by two young girls who are lost in the rain night. Taking pity on them, Evan invites the two women into his home and offers them his hospital. There the two girls play a bit of a seduction game and tempt Evan past the point of no return. Waking up after sleeping with them Evan finds out that he bit off a bit more than he could chew. The innocent girls (played by Lorenzo Izzo and Ana De Armas) have turned absolutely crazy, making a mess of his house and giggling like school girls. Furious at the destruction of his house, Evan throws the two girls out of his home and puts the whole thing behind him. Or so it seems.
As it’s only 40 minutes into the film, the audience knows that this is NOT the last of the women. Evan is once again bothered by the pair and this time they’re not here to play nice. Capturing Evan in his own home the psychotic women terrorize the man to the point of insanity. Torture, abuse, teasing, and just plain viciousness ensues in a horrific manner that leaves the entire house in disarray. While a pair of crazy women with some tape and straps may seem like a pain, things only get worse as they resort to killing an innocent friend of the family and amping things up a notch the closer and closer it comes to the return of the rest of the Webber family.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60953[/img]You can’t put a whole lot of thought in a thriller like “Knock Knock”. There are so many plot holes in the story as well as plane INSANE decisions by people who act in ways that no rational being ever would. You just have to accept at face value that Bel (Ana De Armas) and Genesis (Lorenzo Izzo) are just crazy as bats. In fact their actions make NO sense at all. You get the idea that they’ve done this before to other people, and the revenge/lesson they try to teach Evan makes sense in theory. However in reality it just does NOT jive with their actions. They don’t seem like people trying to teach bad husbands a lesson, but really, truly mentally unstable and insane. To top it off the side characters who DO show up out of the blue (especially Evan’s guest who comes to pick up the art piece of his wife’s) act so poorly that you would know they were teenagers in “Friday the 13th film”.
The icing on the cake happens to be the awful performances. Eli Roth is a bit kooky in his directing style, but I have no clue what he was thinking when he did “Knock Knock”. Izzos and De Armas are creepy as all get-out, but their sheer lunacy is so over the top that they aren’t even remotely relatable or remotely believable. I ended up laughing hysterically every time they were on screen because of the PAINFUL line delivery. As much as I wanted to say the two girls were the worst, Keanu Reeves phones in one of the WORST performances of his entire career. He decides to take the Kristen Stewart method of acting and emote one single emotion for EVERY one of the possible emotions and reactions he must feel the entire film. When he’s happy, when he’s terrified, and when he’s angry all seem to blur into one homogenous mixture that had me giggling throughout. HOWEVER, the overacting is so ridiculously bad that I couldn’t help but have a ball with this character. Evan has to be the stupidest and weakest man I have ever seen, and Reeves hamming it up to level 50 (out of 10 I might add) just gave me this stupid smile when he’s on screen (which is about the only good thing of the entire movie).
Rated R for disturbing violent behavior, strong sexual content, nudity and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60961[/img]Even though the film is nothing special, Lionsgate’s 2.35:1 AVC encoded transfer certainly is. Razor sharp and wonderfully nuanced, “Knock Knock” is almost demo worthy. Shot digitally the film has a very natural look to it, with strong colors and a neutral color grading for a majority of the film. Some teal and yellow does bleed into certain scenes, but it’s never blatantly obvious and the image looks very detailed and crisp. There is very little, if any, softness to the close ups and long shots are nearly as good with amazing clarity and a razor sharp precision to the image. Blacks are deep and inky, never crushing or washing out. The only downside I could see was some intermittent banding from scene to scene (sometimes it was in a dark scene and another time it would be in a brightly lit courtyard), which never detracts from the image due to the brief nature of the flaw.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=60969[/img]The singular 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is superb, with all of the intensity and ferocity of a horror thriller. The writers could have started with “It was a dark and stormy night” as that’s EXACTLY the setting for this movie. The pitter patter of rain falls all around the listener, engaging the surrounds and mains equally effectively, and the roar of thunder crashing shakes the walls with power. The dialog is never lost in the effects, and maintains a good center location up front where it should be. When the movie quiets down and it’s nothing but dialog the surrounds fade into the background, but when the action kicks up into high gear, the tense music floods in from all directions and all sorts of ambient sounds press around the listener to immerse the listener in the horrific situation. LFL is deep and powerful when needed, adding power and weight the girls smashing up his house and the roar of the storm outside.
• Audio Commentary by Eli Roth, Lorenzo Izzo, Nicolas Lopez and Colleen Camp
• Delete Scenes with optional audio commentary by Eli Roth
• The Art of Destruction: The Make of "Knock Knock" featurette
• Still Gallery
“Knock Knock” is more of a comedy thriller instead of a horror movie (even though it wanted to be a horror/thriller), despite the best efforts of Eli Roth. Roth has always been a bit hit or miss with his films, but I generally enjoy his quirky and bloody sense of style on screen. For every “Hostel” and “Green Inferno” I guess he has to go the opposite way and put out a “Knock Knock”. Roth tries to engage the viewer with an intense thriller but for every climax where you think that it's about to get real, we fade back into the boring once more, only to repeat the cycle of being excited then let down. OH! And for those of you starting the film or watching the trailer, yes the dog doesn’t get hurt. The minute I knew this was an Eli Roth film and that Evan had an adorable puppy dog I was prepared for the worst. Thankfully us pet lovers can rest in peace as the only ones who are actually tortured are the humans. While the audio and video are excellent, the film itself is a mess and I just can’t recommend it unless you’re morbidly curious. Just Skip It if you aren’t overly curious.
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana De Amas
Directed by: Eli Roth
Written by: Eli Roth, Nicolas Lopez
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 100 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 8th 2015
Buy Knock Knock On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It.
More about Mike