Knock, Knock Review – Horror Aficionado Eli Roth Scores Again

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Knock, Knock, from Lionsgate and Dragon Fly Entertainment, presents a modern day horror film replete with heightened suspense, haunted house pop-ups, and a terrifying indictment that asks the question which is more horrifying: The known sociopath or the unknown?

Directed by horror aficionado Eli Roth and co-written by Roth and Nicolas Lopez, Knock, Knock stars Keanu Reeves, Lorenzo Izzo and newcomer Ana De Armas as well as Colleen Camp, Aaron Burns and Ignacia Allamand.

Knock, Knock opens by panning through an ultra-modern home, with every wall filled with portraits of a loving family, husband, Evan, played by Keanu Reeves, wife Karen, played by Ignacia Allamand, two children, a boy, Jake, played by Daniel Baily and a girl, Lisa, played by Megan Baily.

A perfect idyllic life, modern home, complete family, contemporary ideals and values, the camera finishes its introduction to the family, and its apparent solid foundation, in the bedroom of Evan and Karen, waking on Saturday, with designs for an early morning pleasure trip, the two cuddling when she accidentally touches a healing shoulder injury.

The pain, still by the touch sends shockwaves and the morning funnies are interrupted, best resumed on another day which coincides with a sudden burst of two children running through the door announcing “its Father’s Day!.”

An appreciated father and husband, Evan and family celebrate his special day. Soon, Karen is discussing her upcoming exhibition and the catalog arrives delivered by Louis, played by Aaron Burns, and suddenly the day is about preparing for the weekend at the beach house, the upcoming exhibition and his wounded shoulder which is almost healed.

A working weekend for the architect, Evan stays behind and soon the house is empty, the music on, working on computer generated modules, a bit of wine; a bit of weed, it seems the quiet time is exactly what he needed to rejuvenate.

Surprised as it is pouring rain, Evan hears a knock on the door.

This is where Knock, Knock moves from predictable to extreme and honestly at the knock it is almost a personal choice. Would you open the door? Peer through a security peep hole first. Ultra-modern home no outside motion detectors or other security cameras? Would you allow yourself to be surprised?

Opening the door, dripping wet, in skimpy, party girl, trendy short, Daisy Duke, shorts with layered midriff bearing wet tops are two apparently harmless and lost girls. With a line that would most often work, “Can we use your phone? Our taxi dropped us, we’re lost, my phone got wet and doesn’t work,” a plausible presentation that a normal person with a social conscience would feel comfortable providing.

Once the girls are in the house, our Evan, the gentleman, calls Uber, a driver will be here in 45minutes, (ouch!). So now, he is stuck with Genesis, played by Lorenza Izzo and Bel, played by newcomer Ana de Armas, for a little longer.

They increase the boundary once again, can we dry our sopping wet clothes, as we are drenched, breathy pause, you understand, twirl the hair.   

Once again, Evan, agrees. And now the two are out of their clothes in his plush Fretti robes, enjoying the pleasure of his comfortable home, not the King’s ransom, but certainly more than the two have experienced and if the plan wasn’t fully realized at the knock, by the time they were given permission to disrobe and lounge on his overstuffed sofa in his studio with his expensive turntable and expansive vinyl collection, the game, for them, was on.

This is where Knock Knock becomes the fullness of the horror film it is. The premise of the sociopath is often, in society, played out through the obvious; the wild hair, wide eyed, knife bearing stranger, the cannibal as seen in Eli Roth’s recently released The Green Inferno.

His home, his comfortable home, which moments before held at least a decade of happiness became a haunted house, with two baby faced sociopaths who decide the beginning of their plans calls for the seduction of the impossible. The game, of course, is can the apparent unattainable be realized?

The scenes became brutal, violent, with destruction for destruction sake, the girls became animalistic aggressors.

After a frenzied ménage à trois, Evan is able to get the girls, after stumbling into the kitchen to find them eating cereal from the dog’s bowl, cooking, and of course, leaving this Tasmanian devil path of mess and destruction in whichever room they walk through and still lounging in the very comfortable and plush robes, out.

The night, a catastrophic mistake, seems never ending. He finally drives them home.

He spends the day cleaning and disposing of the evidence. Unfortunately this is not where it ends, the girls come back with a vengeance.

Knock, Knock, is genuinely an indictment on society and the product of, in actuality, the social contract that most subscribe to as citizens of the human race. While the social contract may vary in individuals the core values of it remain the through line for most. Taking of another’s life is probably the defining line in the social contract. Most in the human race, at times, feel enough anger to scream those words of rage and that is the end of it.

The horror begins when, baby faced sociopaths are not reigned in. When society tolerates them, bad behavior is rewarded or placated and sexual freedoms or extreme sexual boundaries become the repayment for violence or the casual “Oh, am I bad?”  

Knock, Knock, does not produce gratuitous blood. It is not the Freddy Kruger style horror film. It is the Skyler Ness type of story. The sociopath is unknown.

Knock, Knock has extreme sexual situations, nudity, destruction for destruction sake, heightened suspense, haunted house pop ups and, navigating, which is always frightening, the mind of the baby faced sociopath. The two opposing messages, beauty and violent mental issues, jumble the circuit system and it is the same here.

Eli Roth has once again produced a reactionary film. His recent The Green Inferno, which by the way, also stars three of the talents in Knock, Knock, create the comparison of the known sociopath and with Knock, Knock, the opposite is true, the unknown, unassuming sociopath and of course, presents a scenario that leaves the viewer with a final resonating question. Which is more terrifying?

Knock, Knock is open in select markets. Check your local listings. 

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