Don’t Knock Twice,
Directed by Caradog W. James,
Starring Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Boynton, Javier Botet, Nick Moran, Pooneh Hajimohammadi
A new horror movie starring Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff. Sculptor Jess is trying to piece back together her life; she’s married now to Ben, and wants to get her teenage daughter back into her custody. Chloe, however, is reluctant to give Jess another chance. However when Chloe and her boyfriend Danny tempt faith and annoy one of those pesky Urban Legends, it sends Chloe running straight back to her Mother.
The whole time while watching this film I couldn’t stop thinking of Candyman. The original Candyman movie was gritty, with Virginia Madsen and iconic horror star Tony Todd, and it didn’t focus solely on the horror of The Candyman himself. Like that film, Don’t Knock Twice is about the urban legends that every town has.
The story is pretty simplistic when it comes to horror movies, but what sets this apart, or at least one of the reasons Don’t Knock Twice is better than most horror films we often get, is the reality of the relationship between Sackhoff and Lucy Boynton who plays Chloe. They have this uneasy chemistry together, the kind that adversaries in films have, professionally probably very respectful and personally off screen they get along fine, but on screen the tension is amazing. Sackhoff is stripped back in her look, showing the true talent that she has, and blasting everyone else off the screen with the acting skills. I have to be honest here and say that, apart from Boynton, no one else appears to be on the same level as the two female leads.
The film was shot mostly in Wales, and they couldn’t have picked a better spot for the film. The mix of the modern cities of Wales and the quick transitions into the Welsh countryside give that stark contrast between the two different worlds existing almost side by side. I would love to have an artist’s studio like Jess does to write in. The ‘Witch’ that causes all the trouble is trying to devour the innocent, which is common enough in the horror genre, but you know there is always something creepy about a witch to me. The eerie subject of the latest sculpture that Jess is doing suddenly turns into a psychic medium when Chloe turns up and runs away to do some research. There are a few moments where the script lets the film down a bit – some really cheesy lines and interactions that should have either been cut from the script or rewritten to make them stronger.
That criticism aside, why does Don’t Knock Twice strike me as one of the better horrors we’ve had in the last few years? Well it could be that there aren’t many horrors recently that actually give you the shivers, or it could be that although only 93 minutes it packs in enough psychological and traditional horror aspects. The feeling of Candyman is sometimes matched by the edge of Don’t Look Now. The drama added with the relationship between Jess and Chloe, and the fragility of Jess, adds more depth than your usual fright night feast.
While it won’t be for everyone, horror fans and fans of the great Sackhoff will enjoy this creepy, flawed, and yet hugely entertaining trip down the fright hole.