“I’m glad we knocked on your door”
Not being a fan of writer/director Eli Roth or the torture porn sub-genre itself, I went into this film with serious reservations. I hoped against hope that with the appealing inclusion of Keanu Reeves this might be worth some attention. Reeves has been involved in the occasional dud here and there, but he’s also been known to unearth a few gems in his time. I was hoping for the latter and also hoping that Roth may have moved on from his gratuitous early films like Hostel and Cabin Fever and actually managed to mature somewhat. Alas, I should have paid heed to my reservations.
Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) has the house to himself for the weekend while his wife and children take a trip away. Evan’s supposed to be working from home but the arrival of two young women at his doorstep temp him to do otherwise…Those familiar with the 1977 psychological thriller, Death Game, will know what to expect already with this one but for those unaware, fear not; It doesn’t take long to get the gist of this and Roth doesn’t waste any time setting up this remake: Reeves is a happily married man, living the suburban life with his wife, kids and family dog. There is, however, a small hint from a passing comment of Reeves flirting in the past and it’s also noted that, due to family life, he and his wife haven’t had sex for three weeks. So, the stage is set… Reeves gets on with his work one stormy evening until two young damsels come knocking on his door. They’ve lost their way, of course, and ask for his help. They flutter their eyelashes, make suggestive sexual comments and dance flirtatiously to Spanish music. Not before long they’re naked and helping themselves to a shower while poor Keanu is folding their panties that he so obligingly dried in his machine. Naturally, they refuse to catch the taxi home leaving good ol’ Reevesy with no choice but to bump fuzzies. Now, if only Reeves had been privy to the ominous use of music (that the audience hears so consistently to foretell danger) he’d have known that these ladies are bad news. And so ensues depravity, torture and mayhem. You may be reminded of such psychological films as Michael Haneke’s Funny Games or David Slade’s Hard Candy but the major difference is that those films are actually very good. Quite frankly, this is awful.Had it’s tongue been lodged firmly in it’s cheek it might have gained a modicum of respect but it didn’t. And it doesn’t! If there’s any attempt at humour here then Roth has failed to capture it. It takes itself far too seriously. There’s absolutely no consideration for the plot other than to move things along to the next depraved moment and the acting is woeful; Reeves is as wooden as he’s ever been but, to be fair, his best moments come when he’s being tortured. Or maybe that’s because I could completely empathise with his excruciating pain while enduring this film.Ridiculous doesn’t even begin to describe this and I should have trusted my instinct before going into it. I simply don’t like Roth’s films and after this I’ll not be going near another one. If truth be told, I wish he’d just go away and stop wasting everyone’s time.
The last I heard, “Knock Knock” was the beginning of a child’s joke. However, this joke stretches over 90mins and doesn’t even deliver a punchline. At one point Reeves’ character even screams out “what’s the point of all this?” – I found myself asking the same question.Unequivocally one of the worst films I’ve ever had the misfortune to sit through. Maybe once the dust settles I might be able to see this as one of those films that are so bad they’re good. I doubt it, though, this was painfully dreadful. Like Roth’s previous films it’s just downright nasty and leaves a very bad aftertaste.
Trivia: Two of the film’s producers Colleen Camp and Sondra Locke, starred in Death Game – the original movie that this is based on. Camp also makes an appearance as a nosey neighbour.