Home invasion films come and go, some films like ‘Clockwork Orange’ sprinkle in horrific scenes of home invasions in their plots, while films like ‘Funny Games’ and ‘Knock Knock’ make them the centerpiece of the entire film. At Sundance this week the latest Keanu Reeves thriller premiered for audiences, and while it offers up a few thrilling moments, it doesn’t quite live up to the other horror films on display this year. That being said, the movie does a fantastic job at showcasing Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas, two stars of the film and Keanu Reeves’ abductors.
The film is basically a remake of the 1977 horror-thriller ‘Death Game,’ but the producers of the film stopped short of saying that it was a remake, or even crediting the original film. Colleen Camp actually starred in ‘Death Game’ when she was younger, and is one of the producers for ‘Knock Knock.’ There are some gigantic changes made to the story, but it’s a little too close to the original not to mention it. If you look at ‘Knock Knock’ as a remake, then it’s an improvement in every way. If you look at it as a stand-alone release on its own merit, then it might fall short of expectations.
The film follows Reeves’ character as he enjoys a night alone, only to have two attractive vagabonds (played by Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas) show up at his door needing help. The film jumps from sex-filled romp to torturous horror-flick fairly quickly, but there is a slow-cooking suspense that fans of the genre might really enjoy.
The director of the film is Eli Roth. He of course is no stranger to horror, having directed “Hostel” and “Cabin Fever,” but in this film his typical gore and over-the-top ‘torture-porn’ tactics were toned down, and the film benefits from it entirely.
Although Reeves might be the center of the action (as he is in the predictable sex-scene) it is Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas that really make the movie. Both actors fill the part of being absurdly great looking young-adults to tease Reeves’ character and tempt him into a life of adultery, but the two are brilliantly perfect to perform together. I should also mention that Lorenza Izzo worked with Roth in the past, he was the director of ‘The Green Inferno,’ which starred Izzo.
If you are a fan of Keanu Reeves then you might remember his 2000 thriller ‘The Watcher,’ also starring James Spader and Marisa Tomei. Fans will most likely find ‘Knock Knock’ to be a vast improvement over that film, mostly because Reeves is on the receiving end of the thrills, instead of trying to inflict them.