Knock Knock appeared in the cinema listings without any prior warning. It wasn’t until I checked IMDB that I realised it was the latest offering from Eli Roth. It was immediately filed under “nope” as I associate Roth, probably quite incorrectly, with the overly gory and graphically violent horror films that I actively avoid.
After standing for what felt like a lifetime behind folks queuing for Magic Mike XXL tickets my mother and I ended up seeing Knock Knock in a relatively empty screen. Heaven forbid there is a cinema trip that I am not a part of.
The trailer looked pretty generic but my disinterest in Roth's other offerings meant that I had no idea what my reaction to the film was going to be.
PLOT: Evan, a middle aged architect and living-room DJ (Keanu Reeves) is home alone over Father’s Day weekend while his family head to the beach. After letting two young women into the house to use his phone Evan, the Good Samaritan that he is, enjoys a vigorous and soapy threesome in the family shower. The girls become stage-five-clingers from hell and are determined to punish Evan for being unfaithful. Because...erm... irony? END PLOT
The plot of Knock Knock isn’t exactly a head scratcher and we already know from the trailer that Evan is in for some tough love from the girls. It’s just a matter of sitting back and waiting for events to unfold while trying to secondguess how the ending will play out. In this regard Knock Knock isn’t particularly violent and feels more like a thriller albeit one devoid of any real tension. The most shocking moment was Keanu Reeves saying that Evan was forty-three years old with a straight face.
The performance of the cast is what makes Knock Knock so watchable but unfortunately it is also the film's biggest weakness. Lorena Izzo and Ana de Armas are great fun as the increasingly unhinged duo of Genesis and Bel. They had great chemistry and were clearly having a ball. Izzo and de Armas held the film together while Keanu Reeves seemed to make it his life’s mission to derail it.
I am not the biggest fan of Reeves in the world. I have no strong feelings towards him as an actor but I’ve always been a bit baffled by the fact that he is a huge star. In Knock Knock Reeves has been completely miscast. Reeves interacts with children as though they are a recently discovered species and his attempts to portray fear are on par with Nicolas Cage’s infamous “beeeeees are stinging…..my faaaaace!” style of acting. There were even a few occasions when I had to suppress giggles when he was ranting and raving at his captors. The only time I felt comfortable watching him on screen is whenever Evan was acting awkwardly to the girls’ shameless flirting. Reeves wasn’t up to the job and destroyed the tension and sense of danger by creating numerous moments of unintentional comedy.
"My eeeeeeears! My eeeeeeeears!"
Unfortunately, for the most part, I was giggling at the film and not with it but this isn’t to say that there wasn’t some dark humour scattered throughout because there was. There was a few moments of humour that really worked and who hasn’t cringed at accidently liking something on Facebook?
Overall Knock Knock wasn’t a bad way to spend an evening. After all my fears that it would be violent and nasty to watch I was actually starting to wish that it contained a bit more than it had to offer. It gets 6/10. On another day, with another male lead, it would have fared much better. Kudos to Izzo and De Armas for carrying the film.