Take a Drink: for deliciously Keanu line readings
Take a Drink: for phallic imagery
Take a Drink: whenever someone says “Daddy”
Take a Drink: for psychological “explanations”
Do a Shot: Oh no… it’s a dog in a Keanu Reeves movie
Do a Shot: for Louis. Man, Louis was cool.
By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
Eli Roth has never really been my bag. I liked Hostel well enough, with its cruelty tempered by a revenge tale that balanced the scales a bit. Ever since then, though, Roth’s hope/humanity vs. cynical sadism ratios have been a little out of whack…
Knock Knock is a step back in a better direction for Roth. A milquetoast family man (Keanu Reeves) stays home alone in order to complete some architect (always) work while his wife and kids enjoy the beach. Things go a bit Skinemax when two dripping wet girls show up at his door one rainy night. The next morning… well, this is an Eli Roth movie after all.
Knock Knock shows the lighter side of torture and murder most foul. Think Funny Games with none of the intellect of Michael Haneke and all of the bloody excess and sick sense of humor of Roth- and that’s a compliment. This shit is funny. No, seriously.
A large part of that can be credited to Keanu Reeves, who’s perfect for this role- dryly incredulous, then amusingly frantic, and finally full-on Nicolas Cage-style hilariously intense. Oberst recently described to me the talent necessary to deliver good camp… and Keanu delivers some delicious camp, fresh ‘n hot.
“It was free pizza!”
Lorenzo Izza and Ana de Armas as the two girls are also both excellent, dripping sex appeal at first, then showing flashes of (possible) insanity and definite dangerous unpredictability. Much like the Funny Games duo, it’s impossible to pin down their motivations, to the point where they fuck with our heads almost as much as poor Keanu’s. It’s great.
The dialogue is pure cheese, and it’s glorious. Less successful are Roth’s random stabs at world-building, like the girls apparently having some sort of support network that takes care of dead bodies for them, a la the Wolf from Pulp Fiction‘s. Feels like lazy screenwriting. Also, Roth has claimed some sort of female empowerment message to all of this, but…
SPOILERSISH. The film builds and builds to a critical mass of fuckery of poor Keanu and then… the girls kind of let him entirely off the hook in a way I’m not sure Roth realizes. If Keanu hasn’t been entirely mentally destroyed, he’ll realize they went so far that they gave him plausibility deniability for, well, everything. So, what was the point, then?
Knock Knock is a wicked little morality play which pushes Eli Roth’s sadistic sensibilities into a more amusing, entertaining direction.