Knock Knock – Sundance 2015

Festival CoverageSundance 2015

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First off, Knock Knock is Eli Roth’s fifth and arguably most accomplished feature to date, redeeming his CV after hollow hark-back cannibal flick, The Green Inferno.
Roth seems to be firing on all cylinders, assaulting the viewer with a cocktail of bad taste super cringe-cum-deviously dark comic thriller. Funny Games plays inspiration as Evan, a loving well-to-do family man is left home alone by his adorable family for the weekend. During a rainstorm two stupidly attractive girls turn up at his door and from there it all goes very very wrong.

I think a film like this will really surprise people with how far it’s willing to go to get our goat, pushing the envelope further and further until you’re a bit of a wreck. There’s cringe, then there’s Knock Knock. Roth orchestrates a weekend of chaos, encapsulating so many contemporary fears in the bodies of two sirens so brutally whimsical they feel like updated Greek archetypes.

The target is the male audience, actualizing their worst nightmares. The message is shaky at points: working class underage girls with daddy issues terrorize a one-percenter with male rape, domestic abuse, torture, and blackmail. It’s all part and parcel of Roth’s ever-so-slightly sexist vibe, but at least this time round his characters refrain from dealing out ignorant homophobic sentiments.

Keanu Reeves arguably delivers the performance of his career pushing his particular brand of crazy further than he did in his directorial debut Man of Thai Chi and proving a more relatable character than his turn in the preposterously good John Wick. Lorenza Izzo shines here as charismatically insane Genesis, taking full advantage of an actual character, something she was cheated out of back in The Green Inferno.

Roth is also at his most technically viable, keeping visual and narrative in perfect synchronicity here ensures that for the first time in years the tension is palpable and the stakes are overwhelmingly high. The soundtrack is original and pretty cool, but disappoints by using Fight Club-famed Pixies’ song Where is My Mind? in its final gruelling, hilarious, and heart-breaking scenes.

A thrilling, overly upsetting venture that hits all the right notes and sports a titanic Reeves performance, Roth is back on top form with this tightly wound psychological horror/home invasion narrative. When you leave Knock Knock, you’ll be praying that this kind of shit never happens to you.



Dir. Eli Roth

Stars. Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Colleen Camp

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