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Review - Knock Knock

By midlandsmovies, Oct 16 2015 09:19AM

Knock-Knock (2015) Dir. Eli Roth


Keanu Reeves stars in this home invasion movie about two young girls who seek help from a man left on his own on father’s day as his family go away on vacation. Directed by Eli Roth, I was hopeful for a tense horror-thriller and with Keanu recently finding his form with the sleazy shoot outs of John Wick, the combination seemed right up my alley but oh how wrong I was.


With the simple set up established, it takes an age for the story to get going. A long drawn-out introduction to Keanu’s family was there, I assume, to elicit sympathy and show his moral credentials but in a film that turned out to be this shallow it ultimately felt like wasted screen time. Once they leave, we don’t see his wife and children again until the end of the film.


The girls arrive in a rainstorm after getting “lost” on the way to a party but all is not what it seems. Keanu’s incredibly naïve (and ultimately thick as pig sh*t) character offers them support but soon his kindly approach leads to an ill-disciplined liaison putting his marriage in jeopardy. Awakening the next day with both girls still in his bed, he realises his predicament and with missed calls from his wife, his panic sets in on how to sort out this mess.


And here the film comes off the rails big time. Roth’s intentions are a Hard Candy-lite attempt to show an older man succumbing to his baser instincts. “We’re only 15” the girls tell Keanu but clearly neither of them look it, act like it and no attempt is made to test the validity of their claims or check their I.D. So although it’s difficult to criticise a film for what it isn’t, the set up shows Keanu to be a relatively intelligent man but he immediately makes a series of brainless decisions. 50 minutes in and I’m screaming at the TV; “why are you doing that?” as the banshees take him hostage in his home and start to destroy his life.


Keanu over and over again tries to bargain with the girls (“I won’t tell”, “what do you want?”) but it’s established in the early stages that the girls won’t yield to any kind of “deal”. Yet he continues with these fruitless attempts. They also spend 3-4 hours digging a hole and his best escape effort is one pointless attempt to use a tablet to make a call. In fact, at least 3 attempts are made by either mobile phone or computer but they all fail. Yet he keeps attempting! Why?? The phone doesn’t work, the bargaining doesn’t work and that’s it. He’s out of ideas.


For almost all of its runtime, the movie focuses solely on these three characters but it’s always a two versus one situation. An early suggestion that one of the girls is having doubts creates an interesting dynamic that is gone 2 minutes later. Interesting plot points and narrative ideas disappear into the void as the ‘us-against-him’ struggle drags on and on without development.


Nearing the conclusion of the film I was practically screaming at the screen.


*SPOILER WARNING IN BELOW PARAGRAPH*


So at the end, they simply plonk him in a hole, tell him they’re not 15, upload their mobile-recorded s*x session to his Facebook page and walk away. The video shows him tied up and his body is now buried in the ground up to his neck. With video footage of the perpetrators and with Keanu’s home senselessly trashed, all his character has to do is explain what happened and I cannot see how the cops wouldn’t believe him. So what was the point of all this?


The film completely crumbles under its mixed messages and nonsensical delivery. The characters are annoying, the film is neither schlocky ridiculousness or realistic allegory and Roth again fails to deliver on an interesting premise with an interesting movie – much like Hostel in my opinion.


It’s not badly made or shot, but demonstrates that a script may look good on paper but when played out by the actors, is simply preposterous in its portrayal of motivation and reason.


It’s not big and it’s not clever. A bit like this joke.


*Knock-Knock* “Who’s there?” “Just a really bad film”.


4/10 Midlands Movies Mike


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