Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Knock Knock

Based on the film Death Game by Peter S. Traynor and screenplay by Jo Heims, Anthony Overman, and Michael Ronald Ross, Knock Knock is the story of a man who invites two women to his house on a rainy night where things go wrong as he becomes a hostage in their own game. Directed by Eli Roth and screenplay by Roth, Guillermo Amoedo, and Nicolas Lopez, the film is a home invasion film of sorts where a married man tries to be a Good Samaritan in helping two young women only to be seduced and tortured by them. Starring Keanu Reeves, Ana de Armas, and Lorenza Izzo. Knock Knock is a wild and intense film from Eli Roth.

It is Father’s Day weekend as a man is staying home to finish work as an architect when two young women arrive on his doorstep on a rainy night asking for shelter and things don’t just go wrong but also get really fucked up. That is pretty much the premise of the film itself as it all takes place in the course of an entire weekend where a man stays home while his wife and two kids go out to a beach house for the weekend. The film’s screenplay by Eli Roth, Guillermo Amoedo, and Nicolas Lopez follows the life of this architect in Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) who is happily married to artist Karen Alvarado (Ignacia Allamand) with two kids as they’re out at the beach. During a night where he’s trying to finish his work, he hears a knock on the door as these two young women in Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas) who are asking for directions and information for a place where there’s a party. Evan would let the two in thinking they would get in and get out but things become troublesome and he gets more than he bargains for during the course of this weekend where he’s accused of pedophilia and all sorts of shit.

Roth’s direction does have style as it is set largely at the house as it play into a world that feels quaint and intimate as it is set entirely in Los Angeles though it is actually shot on location in Santiago de Chile. While there are a few wide shots of the film including a look into where Evan lives with his family, much of the action takes place at the house where Roth would use some unique tracking shots to capture scale of the homes including the hallways. The usage of close-ups and medium shots would play into many of the interiors at the home with a few wide shots of scenes outside of the house including a scene of Evan talking to his wife while Genesis and Bel flash their breasts at him and mimic oral sex as a way to distract him. It does have a sense of humor yet it would take a darker turn during the second half after Evan tried to get the two girls out of his house. Notably in the way he gets tortured physically and mentally as it is clear that these two young women aren’t some jilted women who felt unappreciated for giving this man a good time. Instead, they’re crazy bitches that like to have fun and make men show their dark side whether they want to admit it or not. Overall, Roth crafts a gripping yet witty film about a man who invites two beautiful women into his home only to get himself into some serious shit.

Cinematographer Antonio Quercia does excellent work with the film’s cinematography in the way the daytime exteriors looked through the colors of the grass as well as the usage of lights for the scenes set at night. Editor Diego Macho does brilliant work with the editing with the usage of rhythmic cuts to play into the suspense as well as a stylish montage for the film’s sex scene. Production designer Mariachi Palacios and art director Fernando Ale does amazing work with the look of the house including the sculptures and art work that Karen has made. Costume designer Elisa Hormazabal does fantastic work with the youthful and skimpy clothing that Genesis and Bel wear.

Visual effects supervisor Rodrigo Rojas Echaiz does some nice work with the visual effects as it is mainly set-dressing for some of the exteriors to make the location look like it’s in Los Angeles. The sound work of Mauricio Lopez and Mauricio Molina do superb work with the sound in the way music is presented and then cut off as well as the scenes inside the house. The film’s music by Manuel Riveiro is wonderful for its low-key orchestral score that play into the suspense and terror while music supervisor Sokio provides a cool soundtrack that features music from KISS and Pixies as well as some obscure world music that Evan owns.

The casting by Sheila Jaffe is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles from Dan and Megan Baily as Evan and Karen’s children, cinematographer Antonio Quercia as an Uber driver, Colleen Camp as a masseuse who arrives unexpectedly and sees something is off, Aaron Burns as Karen and Evan’s assistant Louis, and Ignacia Allamand as Evan’s artist wife Karen. Ana de Armas is brilliant as Bel as the blonde Spaniard who is very energetic and kinky as she claims to be underage as she is also the most sexual of the two women. Lorenza Izzo is amazing as Genesis as the most cunning of the two women as well as someone who says some funny stuff as well as be this air of charisma in the way she pretends to be a game show host to torment Evan. Finally, there’s Keanu Reeves in an incredible performance as Evan Webber as a good-hearted family man who finds himself in a dangerous and deadly situation when his generosity gets the best of him as he is seduced by two women and then be blackmailed and all sorts of things where it’s Reeves displaying some humility and anguish in a man who shouldn’t have opened the door to strangers.

Knock Knock is a remarkable film from Eli Roth that features top-notch performances from Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, and Ana de Armas. Along with its ensemble cast, simple premise, and unwillingness to take itself seriously, it’s a home invasion film that manages to be intense but also have these offbeat moments of humor. In the end, Knock Knock is a marvelous film from Eli Roth.

Eli Roth Films: (Cabin Fever) – (Hostel) – (Hostel: Part II) – Grindhouse-Thanksgiving - The Green Inferno - (Death Wish (2018 film)) – (The House with a Clock in Its Walls)

© thevoid99 2017


TheVern said...

Happy belated Birthday wishes good Sir. Yes Us December babies are the best. I dug Knock Knock. I thought it was great for Roth to show that he can direct a good thriller without the use of gore. All three leads were really good, and for a film just set in one small room this did a good job. Nice review. Nice details on the use of cinematography in this post nicely done

thevoid99 said...

@TheVern-Thanks, Happy B-day to you too. I thought it was a fun film as I do like what Eli Roth does. He doesn't take himself seriously while paying tribute to the films of the past.