Knock Knock, 2015.
Directed by Eli Roth.
Starring Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, and Ana de Armas.
When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Up until this point, Eli Roth’s films have been synonymous with gore and torture, which makes it all the more surprising that Knock Knock is now his best film and contains little to none. There genuinely came a point where all I thought the auteur is capable of was pointing a camera somewhere and showing someone get mutilated, usually as a social satire statement. Once again, I am so glad to be wrong.
The premise of Knock Knock is simple; a loving family man and architect is stuck at home during Father’s Day weekend to finish up some work while his wife and kids vacation at their beach house. Nearing 1AM, two smoking hot ladies show up to his front door with their clothes drenched in a downpour of rain, abandoned by their cab driver, unsure of the whereabouts of their intended destination, cell phone busted due to the rain; pretty much everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. This sort of becomes a fantasy for Evan (Keanu Reeves) however as the woman soon begin bonding with them, flirting, and eventually becoming openly sexual.
Naturally, Evan succumbs to the temptation despite trying to thwart their lustful advances (duh, otherwise you wouldn’t have a movie), but it’s where Knock Knock goes that shifts it into a sick, twisted extended prank full of mental torture for the ages. It’s tough to explain why without delving into spoilers, so I’ll just say that Eli Roth is sick in the head and I love him for it.
What I can mention is how absolutely awful and hilarious Keanu Reeves is at delivering literally almost every single line. There is a point towards the end of the film where he goes on a straight up rant seemingly attempting to take the crown of most unintentionally hilarious moment from Nicolas Cage and his infamous “NOT THE BEES” scene in the remake of The Wicker Man.
There is also something deliriously satisfying in watching Keanu Reeves, who was legitimately depressed for years and took a break from acting after his wife died of leukaemia, taking on this role of the family man that makes one mistake. I sincerely wonder if, even though as silly and dementedly off-the-wall this movie is, some of it was challenging getting into the right mindset for, especially the sex scene where he essentially seals his adultery. It also feels like Eli Roth is gleefully having fun with having these beautiful woman absolutely wreck the life of a great person. The movie seems to imply that even the best guys are capable of giving into temptation, so what better casting than Keanu Reeves?
Knock Knock admittedly isn’t for everyone though; it almost takes pride in being stupid. That’s probably because it is out to make you laugh more than anything. Keanu Reeves is honestly a pretty bad actor but here, the awkward tonal delivery is amplified by 10 and you can bet your ass it’s intentional. Being a black comedy isn’t the only thing that will turn away viewers though, because some of it is frankly just disgusting. It’s almost as if Eli Roth was dared to achieve the same shock value levels of his previous films, but without any bloodshed, instead taking the psychological route. Some will dig it anxiously awaiting what’s next, while some will be repulsed, and Eli Roth knows this. He’s putting out movies geared towards niche moviegoers, which is honestly a good thing.
The movie also doesn’t really go anywhere satirically. Every once in a while Eli Roth attempts to make a point about adultery, and some other things I again don’t want to spoil, but he’s having way too much fun with his devilish girls and tortured husband to dig too far deep into those areas. It’s somewhat of a shame considering as entertaining as Knock Knock is, it could have been something more provocative alongside its sinister material, but for now we just have to settle for the hell of a ride it is. On another note, the ending is a little anti-climactic, not feeling like it ends where it should. The final line is quite amusing, but the movie doesn’t offer up enough closure.
Knock Knock also makes a convincing case that Keanu Reeves and Nicolas Cage should team up for some sort of buddy cop paranormal investigations film full of campy dialogue. Then again, such an awesome thing might tear a hole through the universe with its awesomeness. For now, just watch Eli Roth’s Knock Knock and revel in its darkly humorous madness.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook