The latest in horror enthusiast Eli Roth’s filmography comes Knock Knock, a horror/home-invasion thriller that sees a happily married Keanu Reeves and his home become hostages at the hands of two young women, Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Belle (Ana De Armas), who persuade him to spend the night with them.
As a fan of Roth’s work, I couldn’t help being extremely disappointed. An over-the-top, brash and loud film lacks depth and direction as it grasps lazily at becoming a morality play.
Keanu Reeves’ acting is poor. Wooden, and almost comical as he pleads his way through the film, occasionally muttering profanities at the girls as they tie him up, knock him out, stab him with a fork, and bury him alive, whilst squealing “fucking bitches!” at regular intervals.
Izzo and De Armas both serve as the shrieking, screaming, playfully psychotic captors. Their dialogue is as playful as their performances, constantly teasing Reeves’ Evan as he tries desperately to rid them from his family home. In the performances and dialogue written by Roth (Alongside Nicolas Lopez and Guillermo Amoedo), this film has the potential for the black humour that Eli is famous for, but it falls flat in a whir of shrieks and groans.
One scene in particular that saves this film from complete damnation is a scene that comes very early on in the action, whereby Evan and the girls are left waiting for an Uber to collect them and take them home. The Uber is 45 minutes away, and during this time the girls attempt to chip away at their host. Tension builds wonderfully as he tries to resist, moving around the space to get away from the girls prying hands, all the while the iPhone Uber clock serving as a countdown to his freedom (which of course, does not come).
In addition to this, the use of limited cast and a single location gives the film intimacy and control, however this merit is not used to it’s full advantage and therefore collapses by the lack of texture that this film possesses as it grasps towards becoming a cult film that it does not deserve to be.