It's All Fun and Games, Until It's Not
Chris Kavan - wrote on 12/09/15
Eli Roth was out of the movie game for awhile following Hostel: Part II in 2007. Now, here we are in 2015 and we have not one, but two, new films from the horror auteur. I haven't seen Green Inferno, yet - but I'm interested as I have seen some of the cannibal films he is trying to emulate. Knock Knock is a remake of the 1977 film, Death Game. I haven't seen that film, either but the plot is the same: a lone man is visited by two, young women while his family is away, seduce him and, essentially, ruin his life and home.
Keanu Reeves stars as man, Evan, an architect who lives in an impressive home with two children and his wife, Karen (Ignacia Allamand), an artist. On Father's Day, the family goes to a beach house while he stays at home to work on a project. That night, two rain-drenched girls show up at his door, apparently lost and hoping for help. As Even's home is a bit off the beaten path, their ride won't be there for 45 minutes. He obliges the two girls, dries their clothes, gives them tea, gives a little history - but the two "flight attendants" as they state, have something else in mind. I will give you one guess as to what that is - and how Evan reacts.
As played by Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas, the two girls, Genesis and Bel are pretty good at being both playful and teasing and, later on, evil and vindictive (and totally crazy). After his turn in John Wick, I was hoping Reeves could pull off a different role - but whether a family man or begging for his life or threatening - he never really sold the role for me. There were flashes of brilliance but nothing that made me forget this was Reeves. Most of the other roles were brief glimpses - Aaron Burns as an art dealer has a short but memorable scene as does Colleen Camp (bonus trivia - star of the original Death Game) as a neighbor. Mostly the film is Reeves squaring off against the two girls.
The biggest thing that bothered me was the motivation - other than a brief mention of possibly being abused - the two didn't seem to have much reason to completely ruin someones life other than because they get off on it. There doesn't seem to be some moral reason, nor revenge - not anything beyond their twisted "game" they do for the hell of it. Considering how adept the two are lying - you can't even take the abuse claim at face value. As far as I'm concerned, they are both mad as hatters and this is how they have fun. While the lead up is fantastic, the film also suffers from a weak ending. Essentially it ends on a joke - which, considering all that came before it, is a bit of a disappointment.
In the end, Knock Knock is a decent thriller with the right pieces but they don't fit perfectly together.