Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Knock Knock (2015) - Review - @BrandonCSites

Knock Knock (2015) *
D: Eli Roth
C: Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Aaron Burns, Ignacia Allamand, Colleen Camp

Plot Synopsis: Two nubile, stranded women reveal a sinister agenda after they spend the night with a married architect.

Review: The premise is simple. Two girls seduce a married man. Afterwards, they tie him up and torture him. It's not a bad premise, but it's a short film idea that's been extended into feature length running time.

Some people will go, but this is a remake of a feature length movie called Death Game. And indeed, they're right, but Death Game (AKA: The Seducers) suffered from the same problem as well in that it was a short film idea extended into a feature. On the writing front, it's obvious that the screenwriters knew this. For example, there's a scene in which Keanu Reeves drives two female characters home, characters that he happened to have a one night stand with. Keanu Reeves then goes back to his house where he hears a strange noise. Reeves goes to investigate this noise where he's knocked out by one of these females. 

Here's a question. Why not skip the driving around in circles part and have Reeves character get knocked out sooner? I'll tell you why. They needed additional material to justify this as a feature vs a short. 

After this scenario plays out, the two female characters tie Reeves to a chair and torture him. Where's there left to go after this? We know they're going to torture Reeves. He's going to react and try to escape. Reeves is going to be unsuccessful in an attempt to escape and this scenario is going to play out again (and again) until some kind of arbitrary finale.

In between, there's some attempts at satirizing the torture porn sub-genre of horror, but this was the wrong medium. Effective satire comes from observations related to human behavior. Since Reeves' character is strapped to a chair, what humor could possibly be derived from the situation he's in? He can yell, cry, scream, beg, try to escape from the chair or utter obscenities at his torturers, but that isn't going to be particularly funny or make any kind of pointed statement.  

Think about it. In the film Heathers, the humor didn't come from Winona Ryder & Christian Slater killing off their classmates, but in how the school reacted to it. Or, in the more recent Lumberjack Man, a satire of the slasher genre, there's a scene in which the final girl strips down to her bra & panties and lathers herself up with maple syrup to take on the killer. In this type scenario, the final girl is reacting to a situation.

The man behind this is Eli Roth. Two of his most popular movies were Cabin Fever & Hostel. While neither was great, they showed potential. It was clear that Roth had a lot of interesting ideas, but that was the problem. He had too many ideas and didn't know how to edit himself. 

This time around, Roth has remade a film that was fundamentally flawed to begin with. He's padded out the material to get it to 99 minutes and the satire hasn't been thought out. It's as though Eli Roth has ran out of ideas. [R] 99 minutes.

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