EXPECTATIONS: A home invasion flick with some dark comedy and plenty of Keanu Reeves memes.
REVIEW: Chocolate with sprinkles! Wow. That’s my reaction when I first saw the trailer for this film. When I saw Keanu Reeves’ performance in the trailer, I was a bit puzzled; thinking that this was a thriller, and not a comedy. I was laughing at the content yet there was serious, suspenseful music in the background. I was wondering if the trailer was really meant to give an actual impression of the film, but unfortunately, people will feel mislead, thinking that it is a film in the vein of Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct or Funny Games. But what I was surprised to see what Knock Knock actually is, a dark comedy. To be honest, it is the funniest film I’ve seen so far this year. And I absolutely swear that it is intentional, as the actors are all in on it.
Keanu Reeves stars as Evan Webber, a former DJ, now a happily married architect with two children. They all live in a house that he designed and his wife (Ignacia Allamand) surrounds it with all of her artwork, which is getting ready to be shown in museums, with the help of family friend, Louis (Aaron Burns). The film is set on Father’s Day and Evan has to stay at home while the rest of the family are on a trip. On that rainy night, two strange (and wet!) women, Genesis and Bel (Lorenza Izzo and Ana De Armas) come knocking on Evan’s door for his help and he obliges. The women indulge into his life story and inch in closer to him, but he shies away. But as they seduce him and offer to entice his unsatisfied urges, he gives in, resulting in a night full of stuff that would make Penthouse Forum howl with delight. The next morning, he wakes up and unfortunately still sees the women at his home and he tells them to leave, but the two become sinister and hostile to the point where it could become deadly for Evan.
Let’s talk Keanu Reeves. I am surprised that he would attempt to be in a movie like this, and this was when I thought this film was a sexy thriller. So imagine my surprise when I found out this was a dark comedy that Keanu would act in. Holy shit, his performance in this film. It was goddamn hilarious to witness and I never thought he had it in him to act the way he did. Usually, his performances are subdued to the point of being wooden and he would often rely on body language to give a convincing performance, but in Knock Knock, most of the film he is tied up and he just overacts immensely. There is a monologue in the middle of the film where his character just blows up and lets his anger out towards the women, while equating his act as obtaining free pizza, and it is a hell of a sight to behold. The only time he is shown to be genuine is when he is shy towards Genesis and Bel, and we can easily believe him when he does the musical chairs act. Comparisons have been made to Nicolas Cage, especially in the ending, but Keanu Reeves entertained the shit out of me, and I’m thankful. Was his performance intentional? I honestly believe it was, and the actresses kept up with him in style.
Let’s talk about the free pizza, I mean, the actresses. Lorenza Izzo is great as the lively and psychotic Genesis and Ana De Armas is playful as the cutie-pie Bel. They both switch from excitable to menacing with ease and it is a delight to see them play with Keanu Reeves. They too are in on the joke, but it is Ana De Armas that hints that there is something under the surface that could be seen as a bit tragic. The two actresses are great together, whether it is seducing Evan or reenacting a kaiju battle over Lego, the two are great to watch and it is easy to see why Evan would pursue them before he ended up in the mess he went in. The rest of the limited cast are fine, although Aaron Burns has the most stupidest moment in the film that can be seen as comedic or detrimental to its thriller aspects. I saw it as the former and it was totally worth it. The game of monkey-in-the-middle had never looked so much fun.
If you are looking for thrills in this film, you’re not going to find any. The motivations for the women are not convincing, the commentary on men and women is more perfunctory than a true priority (although the “free pizza” monologue makes a point), the times that Evan tries to escape are repetitive and the psychological horror scenes of torture are laughable at best and annoying at worst. And the ending of the film concludes with a joke, not with a revelation or a thrill. But the film is well-shot within its budget, the score is good at elevating the mood of the film and the set (the house) is used quite well.
The film was entertaining and the cast were great with the material but it is expectations that can make the film. Those who expect a sexy thriller will be disappointed, if not downright infuriated. Those who expect a dark comedy will be delighted, if not greet the film with uproarious applause.
The cast are really entertaining in their roles (Keanu Reeves is a laugh riot)
The film is hilarious in its execution, seeing it as a dark comedy
Well-made and well-shot
The film is hilariously bad in its execution, seeing it as a thriller
Mixed messages and themes
SCORE: ~ 7/10
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana De Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns, Colleen Camp
Director: Eli Roth
Screenwriters: Eli Roth, Nicolas Lopez, Guillermo Amoedo