She-Devils – Knock Knock (2015)

A tale of two halves.  So this is about a ridiculously good natured family man (Keanu Reeves).  His family goes away to the beach while he stays at home over Father’s Day weekend to get some work done, because that’s the kind of guy he is.  His night is in for a major shake-up when two young women (Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas) show up at his front door, soaked from the rain and lost.  Is this just crazy random happenstance, or is there a possible ulterior motive?  Let me tell you what this movie is.  Did you ever see a 2008’s cult favorite The Strangers?  This is Eli Roth’s riff on that, which is expectedly more perverse, but you would probably already suspect that if you’ve seen either of the Hostel films.

hostelI don’t know why I can perfectly handle the Saw series, but not Hostel, but I digress.

I actually started off really enjoying this, despite the miscasting of Keanu Reeves.  I don’t mind him as an actor, I really don’t, but he has to be utilized correctly.  He can play earnest and surprised (The Matrix), but if you give something too lofty, he’s going to flounder (Dracula).  The way he plays it here feels like he didn’t wholly know how to handle this role, and I personally feel that this part would have gone better to a hungry B-lister who has something to prove, but Reeves at least does what he can.  I thought the first half of this movie is excellent.  There is a good tension as you try to determine what the end game is of these two girls is, and try to figure out how many times Keanu can say no.  I was wholly engaged and on the edge of my seat, and for that, I give Eli a tip of my hat for setting up a premise that I’m completely onboard with.  After the midpoint changeover, that’s where I have issues with this, and I wouldn’t say that it completely ruins the film, but it definitely drops it a rating point for me.

2I don’t know what Alex Winter would say in this situation, but it would probably result in him saying, “Shut UP, Ted!”

This is the kind of movie that falls apart when you take a step back and think about it.  The motivation of these girls is really what I have the biggest problem with, because when you finally get to the end, expecting some giant reveal of the underlying reason behind all this, it bellyflops, and it just leaves you wondering what the point of this exercise was.  Also, there is one thing that comes out around the 45 minute mark that is sold, and not to get too deeply into spoiler territory, but as soon as it is spoken, you write it off immediately as being malarkey, and you’ll know it when you see it.  The only reason why I even bring that up is that so much of the second half goes off of that item, and it does kind of taint it.  Even through the lacking second half, it never stops holding your attention.  Knock Knock has a four star opening and a two star conclusion, which makes for a pretty simple math equation.

Knock Knock (2015) ***

– Critic for Hire


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