Knock Knock (***) – It was free pizza

Knock-Knock

Knock Knock – 2015

Director Eli Roth
Starring Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns, Colleen Camp
Screenplay Guillermo Amoedo, Nicolás López, Eli Roth

If the story is familiar, it’s because we saw it before in 1977. Then it was Death Game, starring two of the film’s producers, Sandra Locke and Colleen Camp. Camp makes a cameo in the film as a therapist, too. One may be familiar with Camp, who played a police officer in many films, including two Police Academy films. It’s interesting, weird and kind of neat to see women of their age having anything to do with a modern film. Yes, I digress.

Reeves is Evan, a dedicated family man who is going to spend the weekend alone working while his wife is at the beach house with the kids. If you are thinking that any man in these conditions within a film remains dedicated through the end of the film, you’ve never watched Cinemax After Dark. This time not one, but two vixens (Izzo and de Armas) creep their way into his life late on the first night. Telling him a hard luck story, he falls for it and ends up opening a can of chaos into his life, and that of his wife and children.

What happens is pretty easy to guess, and there really are no surprises. The best one can expect from a story like this is execution in direction and acting. The opening act is monotonous. To give him a Spanish wife and then make one of the two minxes Hispanic is redundant. Reeves is wooden at first, but comes alive right about the time his morals take a dive. The women who invade his existence are entertaining enough to keep watching.

This is exploitation disguised as a morality tale. Roth isn’t even trying to fool us with any sort of curve. Everything introduced or mentioned in the first third of the film is used, disgusted or dead by the last third. Still, it’s not at all bad. It’s what one would want with moralistic horror film: no way out for the good guy, who isn’t that good.

The best part of the film takes place near the end, when Evan learns his fate. At this point, he’s more irritated than afraid, and he breaks into a speech with a logic that only a man could believe. If he’s somewhat right, he’s ultimately wrong: a helpless victim of his own lack of willpower. It’s the kind of moment that each married man says he would never find himself in, while secretly hoping he’s not ever given the chance.

(*** out of *****)

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