Review: KNOCK KNOCK (2015) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Review: KNOCK KNOCK (2015)

This FUNNY GAMES-like home invasion thriller should have left the door unopened.

Following the gory but average cannibal flick of THE GREEN INFERNO last month, Eli Roth finally steps out of his comfort zone in KNOCK KNOCK. Instead of his signature torture porn-like approach, Roth tries his hand at something more psychological with subdued violence. However, the result is another creative disappointment that Roth can't seem to determine what makes a good home invasion thriller.


When Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) is forced to stay back all alone in the house to finish his architectural project while his wife (Ignacia Allamand) and their two kids are off to the beach, he heard someone knocking on the door during a stormy night. It turns out to be two female strangers -- Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas) -- who are both soaking wet outside the porch. They asked for his help, and Evan is kind enough to lend them his iPad so they can get in touch with their friend. Soon, the two girls start flirting with him. At first, Evan tries hard to resist their seduction but eventually give in and ends up sleeping with them. The following morning, Evan wakes up and surprised to find the two girls are still at his house. Not only they refuse to leave, they also start to show their true colour.


At the beginning, Roth laid out his setup just fine. We learn how happy Evan spends a brief but quality time with his beautiful family, and also how fortunate he is working as a successful architect at the comfort of his posh home. When the two girls first appeared at his door, Roth does a good job toying the subsequent scenario with sexual tease that gradually grows uncomfortable until Evan finally surrender to their lust and temptation.

The camerawork in the movie is also worth noting for, with a few interesting tracking shots that navigates along the hallway and into the room of Evan's house. Such creative choice of shot does help heighten a sense of anticipation that something bad might be lurking around the corner.

Lorenza Izzo (who also appeared in THE GREEN INFERNO) and Cuban-born Ana de Armas are both sexy and alluring as two psychopathic femme fatales. In fact, the casting of these two beautiful girls is the best thing Roth has made for this movie.


Although there are some entertaining moments, I can't find one single memorable moment worth adding here.


Two words: Keanu Reeves. Following his acclaimed comeback in last year's JOHN WICK, it's sad to see him return in his acting slump all over again. This time, his limited acting range is glaringly obvious. The way he begs and screams for mercy sounds terribly whiny. Even the way he spit out profanities is laughably bad and amateurish. No doubt this is Reeves' most embarrassing performance I've ever seen.

Although the movie's deliberate pacing does work in a certain capacity, Roth fails to sustain the tension once the two girls rear their ugly heads. Problem is, the motivation behind their psychopathic behaviour towards Evan is weak and preposterous. The payoff is even worse, which I wouldn't spoil for you here. All I can say the result is an unsatisfying conclusion that left me nothing but feeling frustrated.


It's a shame that Eli Roth's rare venture into FUNNY GAMES-like psychological thriller territory fails to capitalise its potential. Together with this lacklustre movie and THE GREEN INFERNO, Eli Roth's highly-anticipated comeback to the director's chair after years of absence ends up with a double dose of creative failures.

* This review is written courtesy from GSC press screening *

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