Knock Knock (2015) Review

knockknock1Knock Knock (2015)

Directed by Eli Roth

Starring Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas

Evan (Reeves) seems like the perfect guy and the perfect husband. He’s an architect, lives in a beautiful California home, has two kids and a lovely talented wife. One afternoon, his wife and kids go to the beach but Evan has to stay behind and work. It’s raining hard, he’s alone, listening to music, when late at night there’s a knock at the door. Two beautiful young girls are standing, shivering in in the cold. They’re drenched, lost and just want to come in to dry off and use the phone.

So begins Eli Roth’s latest film, a break of 8 years since his last directorial feature, missing out the unreleased The Green Inferno, 2007’s Hostel II. Ever since Cabin Fever came out back in 2002 I have been watching Roth’s filmography very closely, whether he is directing, producing or even starring in films (he holds his own in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds). I went into this film thinking this was a film Roth took just to get back into the directing game, but I was happy to see that not only did he direct but also co-wrote (with Guillermo Amoedo, writer of Aftershock, produced by Roth and The Green Inferno). With that in mind it gave me good a good sense that Roth wasn’t just taking this film for a quick buck ala Kevin Smith and Cop Out.

knockknock2The film’s look and style is well thought out. The camera taking us through Evans home giving us a good sense of family background and how loved Evan is to his family and vice versa. The camera stalks the corridors of his very architecturally ‘now’ home, from the floor to ceiling glass and modern décor. Giving the viewer an understanding of the layout of his home and as watchers almost being voyeurs looking in on an almost perfect family set-up.

Once the family are split up and Evan is left alone, we get to see a grown man relax and enjoy this rare freedom. Loud music and reefers abound. Whether you are a child or fully grown adult, I think there is nothing scarier than not knowing what’s the other side of the glass of your windows, in your yard, watching your every move. With rain lashing the windows there is a knock at the door. Now you ask yourself, what would you do? Its 1am, raining heavy and you are home alone. Whether you are Male or Female, you have a decision to make.

Through a set of circumstances, Evan’s basic family instincts kick in and he lets in the two barely dressed young girls in with the best intentions, to get dry, dressed and on their way. With the two girls over the threshold and tightening their grip on his basic needs, the games are afoot. The two girls, Bel and Genesis, played by Ana De Armas (in Reeves new film Daughter of God) and Lorenza Izzo (Kylie in Roths produced Aftershock) play well off each other, using their feminine charms to good effect to lure and entice Evan into doing things he really shouldn’t be doing as a husband.

knockknock3Once Evan steps over the line, there’s no going back and the situation quickly spirals out of control. Other than a lull in proceeding the film ramps up and up and up, until Reeves’ character cant take it no more and snaps. At this point, the first cracks appear. Ever since he appeared on the scene, Reeves has always been mocked for his acting. You cant deny the guy has charisma and can hold the screen well. There is a scene with a tied up Evan, where he has to scream and shout, and this is where his acting falls flat, he isn’t able to emote and convey what needs to be conveyed. Its a startling scene and one which may have needed a few more takes.

Overall though I loved Knock Knock, it’s a tightly scripted, well made film and I for one am glad to see Roth directing again.