Friday, February 16, 2018

Film Review: Don't Knock Twice (2016)

Don't Knock Twice (Review)
United Kingdom/2016
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's not a terrifying movie, but it was a fun time killer."

A mother attempts to reconnect with her estranged daughter, who happens to be haunted by a demonic witch.

Don't Knock Twice reminded me of horror films from the 2000s. The plot follows Jess (Katee Sackhoff), an American painter with a troubled past, and her estranged daughter Chloe (Lucy Boynton). Jess wants to rebuild her life with Chloe, but Chloe refuses since she isn't ready to forgive Jess for her past actions. Her mind is quickly changed when, for some reason, Chloe and her friend Danny decide to test a local urban legend and disturb a witch by knocking twice on her door. So, Chloe runs home after she finds herself being haunted by said witch. There isn't much more to the plot. It has a few 'twists,' if you can call them that, but it mostly plays it safe and follows a predictable route. The ending was interesting, but it felt rushed and underwhelming.


Don't Knock Twice is a decent experience. Specifically, it's a decent experience for fans of short, simple, and 'fun' horror movies. Think: Insidious or Lights Out. It has a few suspenseful scenes, some eerie visuals that were clearly inspired by classic Asian horror movies, and plenty of jump scares. There was even one jump scare that jolted me, even though it sort of cheated. If you like all of this in your horror movies and you're not a demanding fan, you're in for a decent time-killer. On the other, Don't Knock Twice fumbles—a lot. The plot is disjointed and confused. It's not confusing, it just doesn't know what it wants to be. It borrows from a lot of films, but it never develops a personality for itself. So, like most of its characters, it's hollow and forgettable. It starts off without a hook and it stays like that for a while. It has moments where it's just wandering aimlessly. Although I enjoyed the visuals, it failed miserably in creating its villain—much like Lights Out.

The acting doesn't fare much better. The main stars, Katee Sackhoff and Lucy Boynton, are serviceable, but their delivery can be stiff and unnatural. The film was shot well, at least. The music was generic, but it matched the tone of the film. The movie was written by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, and directed by Caradog W. James. The writing was rough. Actually, it felt like a rough draft or an outline. It felt like pieces were missing, especially during the first act. It just never flowed naturally. James served well as the director, although there was an obvious lack of originality. He knows how to craft some suspense while delivering some fun jump scares.

Overall, Don't Knock Twice is a decent horror movie. The plot is sloppy and generic, but the horror elements are a lot of fun. It has suspense, spooky visuals, and a lot of jump scares. It's not a terrifying movie, but it was a fun time killer. I wouldn't buy it, but it was worth the stream on Showtime. It might be worth a cheap rental or purchase, too.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Some violence.

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