Bit of a dry patch the last couple of weeks with releases and so we return with Keanu Reeves in Knock Knock. The plot goes that lovely suburban father/husband Evan (Keanu) has to work fathers day weekend while the wife (who’s physically distant) and kids (cliché’ portrayal of well behaved children… we all know there’s no such thing) go to their beach house but on the first wet and stormy night 2 young scantily clothed girls (Lorenzo Izza & Ana de Armas) come a knockin’. They firstly talk their way into his house before their intention of seduction takes place and subsequent shenanigans (to put it mildly) ensue.
Eli Roth (Cabin Fever/Hostel Pt. 1 & 2) directs as well as writes and in typical Eli Roth style brings us creative yet juvenile story with no depth to any of it. The film has been described as sex-ploitation and is a mix of Basic Instinct meets a home invasion movie but where films like You’re Next/The Guest were visually entertaining and clever Knock Knock fails for me on many levels. Something those other films I mentioned managed to do was to use gore and shock in a way that can be visually funny whereas here Roth relies on the overacting of Keanu and the outlandishness of our young predators.
Why Keanu Reeves decided to go over the top with this character befuddles me. I’m a fan of a lot of his work over the years and I don’t expect him to act in the same way each time (would kind of defeat the point wouldn’t it?) but there has to be an element of realism if you decide to ‘go big’ and for me his progression just didn’t feel real and came across more whiny. That being said nothing more could have been asked from Izza and Armas. Both showed they could be vulnerable, seductive, playful, psychotic and manic throughout different stages of this film with both definitely having the chemistry to keep this plot with a minimalist cast going. There were other secondary characters but were of no consequence and not worth mentioning in any depth.
Given that the dialogue was pretty terrible there were elements to the film that were executed well when it came to the seduction scenes. There are admirable attempts to show our victims morality struggle between the constant reminders of family around the house vs potential infidelity although this is not enough to save a film that for an 18 was surprisingly tame. I am also unsure at what the point of the film is or the message it was trying to convey was. There was no ultimate reveal or payoff to justify anything that was done and feels like it was made for the sake of making it.
Some will have fun with a lot of the silliness that takes part but it is a very hit and miss film with what is a very simple premise. Eli Roth trades gore for tension and what we are left with is something that is just not captivating.
This film was not for me, find The Guest on DVD and watch that instead.