I’m stunned it took two screenwriters and Eli Roth to write what is a remake that steals bits from “Funny Games.” This time rather than the nemeses being petulant snot nosed young guys, the villains in this instance are two gorgeous young girls. “Knock Knock” is the least incompetently made film from Roth’s ever growing film library, and that’s due to the fact that it borrows a lot from “Funny Games,” despite being an admitted remake of 1977’s “Death Game.” There isn’t the sly self awareness, but Roth and co. do eventually realize how stupid their story is and then completely ride off the rails by the second half.
Evan is a generally comfortable family man who loves the nest he’s built, but he is craving sex from his busy wife. She’s a mother, busy artist, and successful business woman, and though she is well intentioned, Evan is about as sex starved as one can get in his comfortable rut. While home alone for a weekend, two gorgeous young women named Genesis and Bel appear at his doorstep. They’re just about a wet dream come true, especially for Evan. They’re soaking wet, very trusting, charismatic, and eventually they begin to seduce Evan, as well as insinuating themselves in to his comfortable abode.
Eventually Evan submits to their wiles engaging in a raunchy ménage a trois with the pair, and awakens the next morning to learn they’re both incredibly psychotic, deviant, and are capable of ruining his life. What begins as a pretty solid, if rocky thriller, transforms in to a film that is never quite sure what kind of tone to zero in on. Sometimes it’s a social commentary about the dangers of cheating, sometimes it’s a dark comedy, and the rest is quickly repetitive nonsense. The chaos both women inflict gets very old, very quickly, as we can pretty much see where their act is headed the minute we meet them. While the concept is somewhat plausible (what heterosexual man would turn down two gorgeous young women?), “Knock Knock” seems to suddenly gain awareness of its idiocy and puts us through endlessly grueling scene after grueling scene.
Nothing works here as it’s too tongue in cheek to be a thriller, but much too stern about its undertones of pedophilia to be laughed at. Instead it’s more an awkward series of skits and segments, carried by three really terrible performers. It’s not enough that Lorenza Innis and Ana De Armas chew the scenery, but Keanu Reeves’ performance gets gradually worse as the narrative unfolds. You could chalk up their over the top turns as a testament to the intended exploitation aesthetic, but it’s painful, and bogs down the whole affair. “Knock Knock” is another sub-par effort from director Eli Roth, who finally breaks out of his xenophobia, but sadly for a pretty abysmal thriller.