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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 14, 2018

Don’t Knock Movie Review: Nothing Really New, Uses Same Tropes We've Seen In Other Horror Flicks Before

IN ‘THE Curse of the Nun”, the spirit of a deranged nun harasses a young woman who wants to move to a new home. Now, in “Don’t Knock” (originally “Don’t Knock Twice”), it’s a wicked vengeful witch that sows havoc in this horror film. They release a cheapie cheapie horror flick in mall theaters every week and it’s obvious these flicks really have a market as they have some kind of staying power at the box office.

“Don’t Knock” is a British import that also doubles as a family drama. Jess (Katee Sackhoff) is a sculptor who used to be the wife of a lawyer, Ben (Javier Botet), but she became a drug addict, ruining her family and forcing her to give up her daughter for adoption. Nine years passed. She has recovered and is now married to a rich banker (Richard Mylan.)

Her daughter, Chloe (Lucy Boynton), is now a teenager who doesn’t listen to the warning of the movie’s title. Her boyfriend, Danny (Jordan Bolger), talks her into knocking twice on the front door of a decrepit abandoned house by the freeway that is said to be haunted by a witch. Soon after that, a not so scary spirit who walks on its hands and feet and croaks like a frog barges into Danny’s flat and gets him.

Chloe then experiences terrifying visions so she runs and seeks the help of her long lost mother. Looks like all it takes for a neglected daughter to forgive her mother for abandoning her is a missing boyfriend and an unspooky ghost. Mother and daughter get to bond but there is an insinuation that Jess is holding on to something more than we know as she has a tendency about getting things that are not her own.

We also learn that Chloe herself has her own secrets and she has a personal connection with the haunted house’s former resident. At this point, the director called Caradog James makes use of the usual horror tropes that include dark atmospheric lighting, jump scares, an eerie electronic musical score, and a character who has an ability to see spectral forces and immediately rambles about curses when she meets Chloe. But there’s really nothing here that has not been used in other horror flicks we’ve seen before.

The movie would have worked better if the relationship between mother and daughter has been made stronger and more believable so you can really sympathize when some evil forces try to tear them apart. This part is underwritten due to the lack of more credible interpersonal dynamics between mom and child and the fact that they’re not really successfully fleshed out as real people.

Too bad because in fairness to the actresses who played them, they both deliver intense and emotionally committed performances despite their one-dimensional characters. If the movie focused on their estranged relationship instead of injecting all the supposedly spooky elements and illogical twists in the story, maybe this would have been a better movie.