Eli Roth’s Knock Knock slightly dials down the levels of torture porn he normally associates himself with for this home invasion story.
Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) is a suburban family man completely devoted to his wife and kids but his loyalty is put to the test when two beautiful young women unexpectedly show up at his door when he is home alone and try to seduce him. Naturally they are too good to be true and Evan finds himself in mortal danger.
Like Roth’s film Hostel -being one of the few I’ve seen by him- this is a film of two halves. The first half is a seductive cat and mouse game where Evan tries to fend off the alluring charms of the two strange visitors. This part of the film works really well with Reeves putting across the awkwardness Evan feels perfectly. A scene where he constantly moves between seats as the girls follow him is a particular highlight.
The narrative moves along nicely with Evan’s resolve being slowly worn down as the girls candidly discuss sexual experience with him, compliment his physique and casually touch him. I don’t normally find Keanu Reeves to be a very strong actor but I completely bought him in these early scenes. He comes across as a decent guy who is dealing with an onslaught of the most difficult to resist temptation.
Of course if he didn’t give in then this would be a really boring film where Keanu Reeves flirts with some young women who then leave him to get on with his work. The second half of the film becomes punishment for giving into the temptation as he is tortured by his visitors who tie him up, humiliate him and destroy the majority of his worldly possessions.
This half of the film is significantly weaker than the first and starts to drag on after a while. It is fun enough and has enough insanity to remain entertaining for the most part. Reeves dials up his performance to a really extreme level that reminded me a bit of Nicolas Cage. There will surely be a youtube compilation video of Keanu’s craziest moments made with clips from this film. I have to say that I like this from Keanu Reeves as it’s such a departure from his usual stoic performances that it feels refreshing to see. I honestly had no idea he had it in him. It does make the film difficult to take seriously but there was no real danger of that happening pretty much from the beginning.
The two invaders, Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas) fill their roles very well. Both of them excel in the seduction scenes and make it believable that any man would find it impossible to resist them for long. They also do a good job when they flip and make it their mission to ruin Evan’s life. They go from seductively friendly to unsettling and dangerous in no time at all and the transition is a believable.
It’s not a great film by any means but it is a really entertaining one that brings out a different side to Keanu Reeves that I’ve personally never seen before. The striking moral of the story is to never help anyone for any reason because this could be the end result of it.
A really entertaining film that showcases a different side to the normally stoic Keanu Reeves.
The home invasion narrative is nothing new and in that space this film doesn’t do anything to innovate but I can’t say I was ever bored by it at any point.
Structurally it plays out in two distinct halves. The first being the seduction and the second being the torturing. I would say that the first half is the more entertaining with a really well staged game of cat and mouse going on. Reeves is great in these early scenes as he portrays the awkwardness Evan feels at this onslaught of temptation.
That’s not to say the second half is bad but it’s not quite as good. Keanu Reeves really puts everything into his performance as Evan becomes all the more distressed at seeing his life slowly torn apart by these strange visitors. I was even reminded of Nicolas Cage at some points so that should give you an idea of how dialed up his performance is here.
The two invaders are both believable in their seductive phase as well as their psychotic phase. It’s a transition that feels effortless and makes sense within the context of the film. If anything can be taken away from this film it’s that you should never help anyone for any reason because this is what might happen to you. Seriously though it’s all a bit of fun and enjoyable as a result.