Some affairs just aren’t worth having. Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) is a nice guy, a great husband and a fantastic father, but his wife and kids have gone to the beach for the long weekend leaving him behind to finish up a building design, and as a storm rages outside he settles in with music, weed and a wavering work ethic. A knock at the door reveals two young women, dripping wet and not dressed for the weather. Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas) have gotten lost looking for a party, so Evan invites them in to dry off and get directions.
Slowly but surely they work to seduce him by talking openly about sex, complimenting his physique, getting out of their wet clothes and into robes, and while he succeeds at first to elude their touch – he gets up and changes seats half a dozen times, but they keep following him over – he finally gives in when he discovers them naked in a bubble bath with their mouths open.
Evan realizes the next morning that this was a huge error in judgement.
Eli Roth’s latest eschews the blood and gore he’s most typically associated with and trades it in for a film that’s one half sexy comedy and other half frustratingly stupid morality tale. Up to and including the trio’s night of debauchery the film is a fun, cat and mouse-like romp as the two vixens work to wear down and corner their prey for a wet and wild good time. It’s a rhythmic build towards the inevitable, and while the script (by Roth, Guillermo Amoedo and Nicolás López) is littered with stilted and forced dialogue it’s undeniably fun seeing the recently reborn-as-action-star Reeves outmaneuvered by two young women.
Izzo and de Armas are fairly one-note as playful seductresses, but when the film shifts and they’re tasked with displaying much darker intents their credibility goes out the window both as performers and characters. Blame again falls on the script asking us to believe a single element that occurs after Evan wakes from his sex-stained slumber to find the girls trashing his kitchen. We’re meant to believe things about their age, strength and organized intentions that are blatantly dumb, and the subsequent suspense beats are nothing of the sort. Evan gets the upper hand, or at least the opportunity, but again and again is foiled through lazy writing.
It’s debatable perhaps, but the girls also feel as if they’re intended to be anti-heroes of a sort handing out justice against a man who cheated on his wife. Morality tales are nothing new in the world of horror/suspense films – slashers are often associated with killers targeting the promiscuous while only the “good” girl survives – but those killers aren’t meant to be viewed as the film’s hero. Here though it seems as if we’re meant to cheer and laugh along with the girls’ antics, but this is really a movie without a good “guy” despite Evan’s exasperated protests to the contrary.
Roth gets credit for trying something new, and Reeves makes the most of too much dialogue (good and bad), but the film’s post-sex nosedive turns the second half into an irritating slog of obvious and repetitive actions. That said, you might not hear a funnier delivery this year than Reeves’ rant about free pizza.
Editor’s note: Our review of Knock Knock originally ran as part of our Sundance 2015 coverage, and we’re re-posting it now as the film opens in limited release.
Related Topics: Sundance