Knock Knock

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Knock knock. Who’s there? Another mediocre effort from Eli Roth.

Home invasion horrors should insight terror that grips at your very being. Your safe haven, your fortress, your happy place, where all the evil in the world can be locked out with the turning of a key. That place is violated. All of your possessions are up for grabs, your vinyl collection, your family photographs, your sweet action figures which are all NRFB (never removed from box). Your memories are for the taking.

This idea gives me anxiety just thinking about it, so a movie of this unthinkable, but completely possible event should have the viewer squirming in their seat praying for an end to the nightmare, yes?

Sadly with Knock Knock you are left angry that this whole scenario plays out without so much as a reason let alone a satisfying climax.

Roth suggests that all men will cheat on their partners, ruin their lives and mess up their children psychologically. All it would take would be for two naked women in their twenties to throw themselves at him. There are 3 billion men in the world, we can’t all be the same?

The portrayal of the women in question foray around in all manner of different psyches. Whether this is intentional still remains to be seen. At times they are menacing and psychotic, but for the most part they just appear to be annoying and spoiled. There is no clear motive for the actions in Knock Knock. We can’t fear these girls for the simple reason, at times during the movie, they don’t appear to be in control.
I’ll tell you what else is out of control, Keanu Reeves. I’m a fan, but what is going on with his delivery, is this a comedy?

Some dialogue suggests a more in depth reasoning for the girls behaviour, and there are some scenes I can only assume are supposed to “shock” and “reveal the story”, but ultimately afterwards I found myself asking, “why?”.

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When home invasion movies such as Michael Haneke’s 1997 “Funny Games”, and even his own 2007 Americanised remake exist, Knock Knock has a high bar to reach. Knock Knock came nowhere close.

Perhaps I was expecting too much. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm of this movie says more about my desire to see more pain and suffering on the screen than it does about Eli Roth’s filmmaking. The lead character does go through a pretty traumatic event that will change his whole life. Standing in Evan’s (Reeves) shoes, this movie is no joke and a far cry from the empty* he thought he was getting.

*empty – Scottish for having the house to yourself and engaging in “super secret parties”

Where is the “Cabin Fever” and “Hostel” Eli that we all loved?

 

 

FEAR The Walking Dead

imageEenie meenie miney mo, who did Negan choose to go?

Well, we have to wait six months to find out. No time to catch our breath, FEAR The Walking Dead is here to throw us right back into the action. Ah no, we’re actually going for a calming cruise instead.

AMC should expect viewers to be a little disappointed with the opening episode of FEAR after the season 6 finale of the established Walking Dead tv show. This episode drifts along at a leisurely pace, creating script driven character development, rather than rip roaring action and inventive undead destruction, although props are given for the Kirsty MacColl walker kill.

Our characters have only left modern society behind for a mater of hours and are still struggling with the idea of the apocalypse. We viewers have been watching a variation of this world for the last six years and it’s difficult to understand the motives when it isn’t to instinctually “fear” the living and JSS (just survive somehow).

Set pieces and visuals in the opening episode are stunning and there’s no time wasting in the collapse of the world. LA is already burning! There are hints of The Walking Dead world we know and love, but we’re going to need to be patient and wait for the show to catch up to us. FEAR has to step up its game throughout its full length second season if it wishes to gain the accolades of “the most watched tv show” like its bigger, better, more attractive and intelligent brother.

Despite all this, I’ll still watch religiously. I’m all about a post apocalyptic world! Let’s prep.

Manson Family Vacation

Manson Family Vacation

If you listen to our podcast, which you should as we have been told by iTunes that we’re noteworthy…just saying…then you’ll have heard us talking about “Bad Milo”, a fun horror comedy from The Duplass Brothers. Well the guys have hit it out of the park again with their new-to-Netflix movie “Manson Family Vacation” directed by first timer J. Davis.

Nick Morgan (Jay Duplass) is a successful lawyer living the average American life with his wife and sociopathic child. His average life quickly descends into chaos when his quirky, off-beat, waster brother Conrad (Linas Phillips) turns up on a surprise visit. Having never really seen eye to eye (especially after the funeral of their late father), Nick seizes the opportunity for some brotherly bonding and reluctantly joins Conrad on his planned trip around the LA sites made infamous by Charles Manson and his “family.”

Jay Duplass and Linas Phillips are brilliant in their co-lead roles as two brothers who are on opposite ends of the success spectrum. Duplass plays the uptight, boring middle aged lawyer with unwitting ease and manages to provoke both empathy and disdain from the audience in equal volumes. Phillips is tremendous in his role as the off-beat waster with the Charles Manson obsession, providing consistent comic relief as the Ying to Duplass’ Yang.

The film is paced nicely and really picks up the tension towards the end where Conrad finally gets closer to his goal of meeting Manson himself. An interesting cameo from Tobin Bell is the creepy cherry on top of the well crafted Manson Family Vacation cast cake. The bonding scenes between the brothers have great depth and both characters show great emotional growth throughout the entire film, convincingly bringing the viewer along for the ride.

Since there always has to be a negative, albeit slight. The site of the Sharon Tate murder was 10050 Cielo Drive. It was renamed 10066 Cielo Drive after it was torn down and replaced with a new mansion in the mid 90s. In the film, however, the house number appears to be 5257 (or something similar) which is a little foible that takes absolutely nothing away from the film and was only apparent as I read Helter Skelter (by Vincent Bugliosi) many years ago and had a slight Manson obsession when I was a moody teenager. Luckily I grew out of that phase…and I’m now just a moody twenty something.

Whether you like it or not, the Charles Manson story has always been a great source of intrigue and having it intertwine with the typical story of brotherly warfare really gives the film it’s charm. The script is sharp and witty and at no point does it feel that it’s missed the mark. Heartwarming at times and intense at others, Manson Family Vacation is certainly worth a watch if you’re scrolling through Netflix at a total loss.