Tuesday, October 13, 2015

[Review] Knock Knock

Knock Knock is Eli Roth's second film to release this year (the other was the troubled Green Inferno). Here, he's tapped Keanu Reeves as the main character, who made a victorious return in last year's excellent revenge thriller John Wick. This shock-farce film is not so excellent.

Evan (Reeves) and his family are a pretty happy bunch (to the point of being cheesy) living in the Hollywood Hills. His wife and kids take off for the weekend, and he has the house to himself. His wife keeps jokingly telling him not to do anything crazy or have any parties while they're gone, which means--of course something is going to go down. That night, Evan receives thee "knock, knock" on the door, and it's two lost young women (Ana de Armas & Lorenza Izzo) who got caught in the rain. Evan invites them in to dry off and use his phone. Things begin nonchalant, but the seduction builds pretty steadily, no matter how much Evan attempts to resist. And I'll leave it at that for now.

From the get-go, we realize this film doesn't take itself too seriously, at all. Generic Lifetime-esque suspenseful music plays as the camera weaves through the home and shows a couple goofy looking pictures of the family (one is Keanu holding a small dog and smiling). In an opening bedroom scene between Evan and his wife, Keanu's character cringe-worthily talks in third person as a "MONSTER".

With this sort of film it's best not to know too much going in, but yes, things do get real weird. Some role reversals subvert the typical expectations as things go from raunchy to creepy to dangerous. But even though the story is very intriguing for a while, and Keanu is amusing to watch in this setting, the premise actually wears thin over the duration and loses any steam that it had. And the fact that none of it amounts to a payoff certainly doesn't help either. You get the feeling that the film isn't as suspenseful, funny, or entertaining as it wants to be. At one point, Keanu's character is strapped to a bed, and he asks, "What is the point of this?" I began wondering the same thing.


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