A horror film.
A horror film who?
A horror film who is sadly a bit of a disappointment, given the potential it had which was lost under it’s unoriginality.
What sort of joke is that? Well it’s not a joke but sadly Knock Knock is, which is a real shame as it could have been so much more.
From the very first shot of a busty high school girl home alone being watched by a heavy breathing mystery assailant, Knock Knock sets itself up as a full on nostalgia trip back to the hay day of slasher movies.
It has all the elements: the suburban setting; the fresh faced cast of nubile not so teenage actors, ready to be sliced and diced; the retired police officer obsessed with the case; the oddball janitor who likes to watch the girls in the cheerleading squad; and a masked killer with a devotion to dismemberment.
As mentioned the story is purely traditional and very very familiar to anyone who has seen any slasher film.
The cast, which is mainly unknowns apart from professional wrestler Trinity and Suzi Lorraine who has starred in over 40 monster movies, do a reasonably good job.
More interesting is the crazy pairing of glamorous and tightly clothed detective Billie Vega (Kim Taggart) and Italian-American, grizzled tooth, world-weary, retired cop Mike played by Antonio Mastrantonio – both in search of the psycho killer.
Writer and director Joe Ariola makes a good job with the look and a camera work, and the movie is of a relatively high quality considering its low budget origins.
More importantly the effects and gore are well realised and well done, and frequent enough to keep any blood and guts aficionado happy.
So far so good its seems. However the problem Knock Knock has is that it’s pretty low on ideas, and the few it does have, it doesn’t seem to be able to stick to.
The idea of a horror homage is a great one, not only was the 80’s the golden decade of slasher films (and everyone loves nostalgia) but it’s also a great way to excuse all the clunky acting, genre stereotypes and bad scripting.
Sadly though half way through, the film takes a stylistic turn and starts mimicking much more modern horror films. With the killings shot with fast disjointed cuts, odd noises and time distortion ala Saw and every other unoriginal torture porn film of recent years.
Once this happens the film loses its old school feel and just becomes a straight horror film. Then the other failings in the movie become more abundantly apparent.
Most criminal in my opinion of all of these is the mask and outfit of the killer, which is a total rip off of Leatherface.
Overall Knock Knock isn’t too bad, and fans of gore and guts and generic plots should give it a go.
Ariola is a competent director, and if he could find his own individual style and make his next film based on a more original story, he could create a real name for himself in the genre.
I just hope that next time the right script comes knocking at his door, and he makes sure to answer it.
Additional film information: Knock Knock (2007)