John Cipriano Jr.
Jarett Del Bene
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Knock Knock (2007)
9th Jul 09
High school youths find their life expectancy cut short when a large man with bad hair and an even worse mask takes to offing them in a manner befitting their parent's occupation. Is it the school's far from mild-mannered janitor doing the killings? Could be!
With the incredible financial success of the Saw franchise, Lionsgate could well have followed in New Line's footsteps, who built on their success with the Elm Street series and later championing the incredible The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Instead Lionsgate have gone the other way, scraping the bottom of the barrel for any substandard flick masquerading as a horror picture and flinging it out on an unsuspecting public. Knock Knock is one such movie and is possibly their worst offering to date.
Things start off reasonably okay with a woman, Holly (Nicole Abisinio), who in no way looks like she would still be at High School as a pupil, answering a knock at the house door. Naturally she opens it, however there's no one there! You see, the killer is playing that little kiddie's game of knocking on the door and running away. The scene builds quite nicely with the knocking at the door repeated again and again. After this scene setter, which ends disappointingly, we fail to get any more 'knock knocks' at any doors, a concept that could have been interesting. Instead we are fobbed off with a bunch of 'youngsters' all of whom you want to die horribly - something the film does go some way to doing right.
It helps that the female cop assigned to the case, Billie Vaga (Kim Taggart), would rather spend time dispensing verbal digs at retired gin-house inhabitant and former cop Mike Soto (Antonio Mastrantonio) than solving the case. Taggart’s performance is farcical, meant to come over as an uncompromising mean bitch, she instead pouts and preens for all she is worth in front of the camera, never missing an opportunity to flick her hair to emphasise that she really meant that hard shit she just laid down. Vaga comes off like a foul-mouthed Miss Piggy whose 'Hai-yahhhed' her way into a Timotei advert, stomping moodily around and slapping gormless school caretakers.
The killer - a sort of wannabe Leatherface with his flop of dark hair and papier mache in place of human skin for a mask - really goes to town on the poor babies he chooses to slash and hack to death. You want entrails hanging out of freshly diced victims? Heads chopped off? You’ve got it! The gore is fairly plentiful, so if that's what gets your rocks off at the expense of a coherent plot or decent acting, then you may wish to add a star to the rating. The inventiveness of the killings is diluted by naff outdated MTV-style editing and a refusal to let the camera pull away, even when we've pretty much seen all the blood spillage we may want to.
The film lacks suspense despite a rather effective whispery, twinkly piano score overworking in earnest to provide some. The fault lies with writer/director Joseph Ariola's heavy-handed approach. There is no build-up, an obvious red herring and a big so what of an ending. Even having a lady victim unclothe for a shower, Ariola manages to make the scene feel mechanical rather than titillating or edge of the seat.
Being a fan of slasher pics (especially the 80s ones that this apes) it takes a really poor one to have me yawning, but Joseph Ariola's movie does just that. Knock Knock? The joke here is on the viewer rather than the all sorted badly acted stereotypes prancing around on screen.