“What?! After a long drought we get not one, but TWO Eli Roth movies in one year?! It feels like Christmas, and not just because we’re actually ten days out from the holiday. But yes, we got The Green Inferno a couple months back and now we get Knock Knock. Okay, technically we got Knock Knock pretty quick after Inferno, but the release was too limited for me to see it. Therefore I had to wait to watch the BluRay, which I smartly decided to try and watch now and not save it for watching at home over Christmas, with my mother in earshot.
Roth takes things in a new for him direction, with what he’s classifying as a psycho-sexual thriller. I do agree it’s more thriller than horror. It’s a semi unofficial remake of Death Game, which I am not familiar with. However, I am very much familiar with Funny Games, and certainly picked up on a similar vibe there. Reining in possibly the biggest name Roth directed so far, Keanu Reeves stars as husband/father, Evan, left alone for the weekend by his loving and trusting family. He answers his door to find two young women, seemingly in need of help. One thing leads to another, he makes a few mistakes betraying his family’s trust, and before he knows it, the two girls have turned his home into his own personal hell.
I say it’s like
Funny Games because it’s a very similar being held hostage in your home by a pair of sadistic kids, who make a game out of your sanity and survival. The motivations behind the pairs of attackers are a little different, but they have a similar dangerous mischief about them. Now, I do love a good psychological thriller, so of course I enjoyed this really messed up ride. I’d still rank Funny Games higher, but I really appreciate having more than one film of this icky-feeling sub sub genre to torture my psyche with.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about Keanu as an actor (though he seems wonderful as a person), but I enjoyed him here. He’s capable of this great vulnerability that worked perfectly here. We’ve seen him kick butt as Neo and John Wick, so it was an interesting turn to see him knocked down a few pegs by two pretty little girls.
As far as the girls, as I’ve become more sensitive to gender disparity on film, Roth’s often misogynistic attitude isn’t sitting too well with me. Some of the way the earlier scenes were played out seemed a bit exploitative, but I do like the idea of powerful girls, even if it was a sadistic power. Lorenza “”Mrs Roth”” Izzo played Genesis, the more unstable and unpredictable of the two, opposite Ana de Arma’s Bel, the more child-like and seemingly innocent one. They were two very distinct characters that worked well off each other. Neither was the bigger threat, and combined they were a haunting force.
So yeah, certainly still a big fan of Eli’s work, even if I’m becoming a little bit more mindful about it. I suppose it’s a good thing, actually trying to put some thought into why I like certain things and questioning others instead of blindly following. We’ll see how this inner struggle unfolds over time…”