Knock Knock: Who’s That Knocking at My Door, Eli Roth’s remake of Death Game.

Knock KnockDeath Game

On wednesday Eli Roth’s 2013 ‘The Green Inferno‘ will be released in Belgium. His latest film ‘Knock Knock’ (2015) starring Keanu Reeves has only been made available via video on demand (Telenet).

When his family is away for the weekend two young girls, Genisis (Roth’s wife Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas), ‘happen’ to knock on Evan’s door. They are soaking wet and are looking for help. They were on their way to a party but a taxi has dropped them of at the wrong place. After a slight hesitation Evan invites them in, he gives them robes, puts their clothes in the dryer , makes them a cup of tea and calls them a new cab (via the Uber app).
The girls however were not planning on leaving, they’re on a mission to make his life a living hell, be it a pleasurable one at first. The devout husband, happily married man, with the perfect family and the perfect house may lose it all.

The tone of the movie is hard to discribe as it’s not clear to which extent the filmmakers were taking the film serious. From the get go the ‘happy family’ scenes are bordering on camp and the so-called “free pizza” speech Keanu Reeves delivers towards the end is so funny I can’t imagine it was meant to be taken seriously. The film is not really trying to be scary either and as Eli Roth has a proven track record for horror -Cabin Fever and the 2 Hostel films- that were both horrific and funny, it’s hard to believe he would have lost his touch during the 6 years of his directing hiatus when he was mainly producing films or starring in films by his buddy Tarantino.

When comparing the ‘torture porn’ in ‘Knock Knock’ with that of ‘Hostel parts I & II’, it’s perhaps safer to conclude the film is probably ‘a conscious guilty pleasure about a guilty conscience’. It’s as if John Waters has successfully stolen Eli Roth’s identity. If you were expecting Haneke’s ‘Funny Games’ (1997 or 2007 for the US version ) mixed with Adrian Lyne’s ‘Fatal Attraction (1987) you will be disappointed.
As far as movie references are concerned, the scene were a body is hidden in a paper mache work of art brings to mind Scorsese’s ‘After Hours’ (1985) and a family portrait is hung in a hallway very similar to the famous mirror/portrait in Argento’s ‘Profondo Rosso’ (Deep Red) (1975).

Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing the original ‘masterpiece’ ‘Death Game‘ (a.k.a. The Seducers) (1977) of which ‘Knock Knock’ is a remake (or perhaps a Knock-Off).

Jan Bollen

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