Knock Knock

Knock Knock

2015, R, 99 min. Directed by Eli Roth. Starring Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns, Colleen Camp.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., Oct. 9, 2015

In Greek mythology, the Erinyes, or the Furies, were vengeful female deities that dispatched brutal justice to those who had broken a sworn oath, hounding the offending party relentlessly, with the victims usually dying in some sort of agonizing torment: face chewed off, genitals raggedly removed; the Greeks did not fuck around with such things. It’s quite possible that Eli Roth is aware of that history in his latest video nasty, Knock Knock, but I’m not holding my breath. Much like his bro Quentin Tarantino, Roth likes to rifle through the rose-colored catalog of Seventies and Eighties horror movies, plucking out favorites, and putting a modern spin on them, serving them up as a fresh entrée for a contemporary audience. Earlier this month, it was his version of Cannibal Holocaust (The Green Inferno); now it’s his decidedly faithful remake of 1977’s Death Game hitting the theatres. Same as it ever was, unfortunately.

This update has architect Evan (Reeves), devoted father and husband, left alone on Father’s Day weekend while his successful artist wife and their two perfect children head to the beach. He’s got to finish a project under deadline, but as soon as he throws on some Kiss and smokes a bowl, who comes knocking on the door? A couple of soaking wet girls, gone lost in search of a party. Evan, nice guy that he is, takes them in while they wait for an Uber driver, drying their clothes and making small talk. The pair, Genesis (Izzo) and Bel (de Armas), eventually seduce Evan in a threesome, which then unleashes all kinds of problems. Evan wakes up the next day to find the girls making a mess of the house and refusing to leave. Tension and escalation ensue to an overdetermined ending.

Roth wisely draws out the drama, and both Izzo and de Armas strike the right chord between sexy and psycho. Reeves, on the other hand, doesn't quite fare so well. As things spiral out of control, his increasingly desperate manner is never that convincing. There's a monologue he delivers late in the third act in which he likens the tryst the three shared as “free pizza” that will likely be a perennial favorite on YouTube. Knock Knock is a nasty bit of business, and fans of Roth are not likely to be disappointed. But for everyone else, the joke's on them.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Eli Roth
Through the Weeds of Hemlock Grove
Through the Weeds of Hemlock Grove
Famke Janssen, Landon Liboiron talk going off-book for season two

Richard Whittaker, July 11, 2014

Going to Hell Again
Going to Hell Again
Last Exorcism interview with Eli Roth, Daniel Stamm

Marc Savlov, Aug. 21, 2010

More Eli Roth Films
The House With a Clock in Its Walls
Eli Roth swaps gore for delightful childlike Gothic wonder

Matthew Monagle, Sept. 21, 2018

Death Wish
Bruce Willis picks up where Charles Bronson left off.

Marjorie Baumgarten, March 9, 2018

More by Josh Kupecki
The Good Mother
Searing drama set at the dawn of the fentanyl crisis

Sept. 1, 2023

Liam Neeson does the Liam Neeson thing, this time with exploding cars in Berlin

Aug. 25, 2023


Knock Knock, Eli Roth, Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas, Ignacia Allamand, Aaron Burns, Colleen Camp

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle