Eli Roth is no stranger to pushing boundaries in his films, which comes as no surprise, seeing as how he got his start working for the notoriously
disgusting “Troma.” It’s very clear that he has a love for all sub-genres of horror; From Giallos to cannibal films, his knowledge and passion shine in all of his work. His newest film, Knock Knock, is probably the best film of 2015, if not his career. Since Eli Roth is already an established
director and well-known for his ability to turn a stomach with arterial red splashes, this goes against his “name,” but does so for all the right reasons.
Evan (Keanu Reeves, Speed, The Matrix) gets the house to himself this weekend. No wife, no kids, just him and his work, until two unlikely visitors show up and ask him for some help. With one kind gesture, Evan starts a chain reaction that quickly gets beyond his control and could cost him everything.
Roth knocks it out of the park with a steady increase of tension and just the right amount of humor, in the early scenes. Films like this and The Gift (which was another one of my absolute favorites; see Frank’s review here) take horror back a notch, allowing horrific situations to dictate the comfort levels of its viewer and not relying on cheap jump scares or buckets of blood.
What works so well in Knock Knock is its commentary on human nature, as well as the tension of awkward situations and the horrific sense of failure and loss…at least to me. When I was watching it, I felt myself squirming and actually saying out loud, “No, don’t do that…stop it,” and being uncomfortable. I remember getting that same feeling, when I watched Hard Candy, upon its release.
Roth seems to relish in the fact that he can make you squirm in your seat as you try to anticipate what will happen next. This is an excellent display of filmmaking with many subtle things that I honestly didn’t pick up on until I watched the making-of feature on the Blu-ray disc. Eli Roth has graduated from full-blown torture porn king to a fantastic suspense king that Hitchcock, himself, would be proud to have in his company.
Knock Knock gets an official Repulsive Rating of 4.5 sculptures out of 5 from your rottin’ friend, Roger DeMarco!