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Knock Knock - Movie Review


3 stars

Director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Green Inferno) turns his back on gore with his take on Peter Traynor’s 1977 exploitation movie Death GameKnock Knock is, at once, a much better film than its predecessor and, as far as home-invasion flicks go, a much more suspenseful picture than I’d have ever guessed thanks to Roth’s use of humor and psychological terror.  It's a combination that delivers.  This is the second film Roth has released this year and, without a doubt, it is the one that has the best shot to be a minor hit with audiences thanks to a familiar face rambling on about girls offering themselves to men as if they were "Free pizza!  Free pizza!" and some clever sequences of terror.

A VERY playful Keanu Reeves stars as Evan, a successful architect and all around good ol’ family dude who is about to have a very interesting 24 hours.  Waking up on Father’s Day, he's enjoying the "company" of his wife Karen (Ignacia Allamand) when his crew of two kids come bustling into their inner sanctum with cake and well wishes.  Happy Fathers Day!!!  Mood destroyed.  The adults quickly compose themselves and go their seperate way; she takes the kids for an overnight stay near the ocean and he stays at home to work on a project that's been bugging him.

Everything should be routine from there on out.

Except his evening of architecture and design is interrupted when two soaking wet young ladies knock-knock upon his front door deep into the night.  Bel (Ana de Armas) and Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) are lost.  Can Evan help?  They, with their wet clothes sticking to their bodies, need directions to a friend’s house.  He offers them a place to dry off in and orders them an Uber cab.  It is 45 minutes away.  He offers to dry their clothes and makes them tea.  Nice dude, like I said.  But the young girls - after talking to him for a bit - make him an offer of he can’t refuse.  What begins as a night of unexpected physical contact (again and again) turns evil rather quickly as the girls’ unleash a mean streak that won't stop hitting him where it hurts the most: his home.

Roth keeps the playful morality story churning with intensity and humorous surprises as he confines the camera within the home and figures out how to use the home’s design as part of the narrative.  This is pretty much a one-location picture.  While we do break out of the home for one California Dreamin' segment, cinematographer Antonio Quercia exploits Evan's night of family betrayal with grounded realism as the camera glides through the house with deliberate pacing and intention.  In this manner, he captures the tortured happenings at almost every angle imaginable. 

Roth and his co-writers Guillermo Amoedo and Nicolás López keep the small-scale picture edgy and introspective without stretching credibility as Evan faces some pretty dark consequences at the hands of his captives.  The two girls pretty much have their way with him and his house.  True, the film would be less effective if it wasn’t for the cast and Reeves, whose good looks are part of the joke, is completely on board with the fun.  He goes from clueless to pissed off in seconds and his spitting out of his lines reflects the film's B-movie's intentions.  Couple that with the sexy Izzo and Armas and you have a nice threesome of terror.  The girls are also quite good at being evil and play off of each other with a humorous charm that is matched only by their demented antics. 

From steamy glass shots to moments captured between the shadows on the wall, much of Knock Knock is an expression of the horror a house bares witness to when it comes in contact with domestic deceits.  Roth nails the vibe and is sure to upset some with an ending that just hangs there.  The psychological aspect on display is usually a part of Roth’s approach to film but it is masked by his overuse of blood.  He shows here, through much of Knock Knock, that restraint is also good and perhaps he should dabble more within it, as he’s very skilled at developing suspense when he’s free from his typical crutch of gore. This has the markings of a future cult classic and, in my thinking, that's a pretty damn good compliment.  

Knock Knock is an unexpected treat in a Halloween season full of tricks. 


[tab title="Film Details"]

Knock Knock - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent behavior, strong sexual content, nudity and language
99 mins
: Eli Roth
Eli Roth, Nicolás López
Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas
: Horror | Mystery
One night can cost you everything
Memorable Movie Quote: "This is what happens when you break the rules of the game, Evan."
Lionsgate Premiere
Official Site: http://knockknockmovie.tumblr.com/
Release Date:
October 9, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Evan (Reeves) seems like the perfect guy. He's an architect, lives in a beautiful California home, has two kids and a lovely talented wife. One afternoon, the wife and kids go to the beach but Evan has to stay home and work. It's raining, he's alone, listening to music, and there's a knock at the door. Two beautiful young girls, played by Ana De Armas and Lorenza Izzo, are standing in the cold. They're drenched, lost and just want to come in to dry off and use the phone.


[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

Knock Knock - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 8, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English, English SDH, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; Digital copy
Region Encoding: A

Lionsgate Home Entertainment brings Knock Knock to your door with an above-average 1080p transfer. While the threesome may be dull in the exploitative sense, the crispness of the details is the exact opposite. This one crackles with crisp accents and warm skin tones. Shadows run deep and edges are well defined throughout this tale of domestic terror and betrayal. The expressive sound – represented with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 – is the perfect mix of ambience and dialogue.



  • Eli Roth, Lorenza Izzo, Nicolas Lopez, and Colleen Camp are involved in the feature-length commentary and the results are pretty mundane and, with pauses in between the substantive material, it all comes across as for hardcore fans only.

Special Features:

This is a solid release complete with deleted scenes (which should have never been cut) and an alternate ending that shows off Reeves abilities to get his hands dirty. There is a brief featurette that covers the making of the movie, too. Everything comes primed with Roth’s commentary and, included here in snippets, it’s just better that way.

  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Eli Roth
  • The Art of Destruction: The Making of Knock Knock
  • Still Gallery
  • Trailers


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