Movie Review: Don’t Knock Twice

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Don’t Knock Twice (2016)
Directed by Caradog W. James
Starring Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Boynton, Javier Botet, Nick Moran, Jordan Bolger, Pooneh Hajimohammadi

In this new film by Caradog James, we get a film that starts out in very familiar territory when it comes to story: a urban legend that consists of the person doing or saying something a number of times which in turn will call upon the monster of the movie to come get you. And it does. So once the film start, it didn’t take me long to think that we were going to retread a very old horror theme, going back to the Candyman films, and even before that. But I will say that even though that is the way the movie started, they did take the story down a slightly different path, which made a refreshing change.

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Sackhoff is an sculptress who works in large clay figures who had given up her daughter many years ago when she had a drug problem. But now she is clean and living a normal life, she is trying to get her back, but the welcome is not really felt by the teenage daughter who still feels she was abandoned. But after the daughter becomes convinced that the ghost of an old witch is out to get her, she goes to her mom for help.

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Sackhoff is no stranger to the horror genre, appearing in several films in her career from the more recent film Oculus (2013) all the way back to 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection. The daughter is played by Lucy Boynton, who was in the recent Oz Perkins’ film I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016). But really, for me, the star of the film is some that you don’t even see his face. Or at least, his real face. And that is Javier Botet, who plays the creature here. Botet is like the Spanish version of Doug Jones, a tall, very skinny man that has appeared in quite a few films, usually under makeup. He was the skinny half naked undead woman in the original [REC] (which is funny that Doug Jones would play that character in the American remake Quarantine). He was also the actor that the CGI character of the title beaties in Mama was modeled over. If you go to Youtube and check out the test footage of him, that is scarier than anything in the final movie. If you want to see him out of makeup (for the most part), check out Witching and Bitching (2013) from Álex de la Iglesia. Here, he does what he usually does and create a very creepy looking monster, who does some wonderful things with his hands. It would have been nice to see more of him, but sometimes hiding the character in the shadows is more effective.

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Okay…so the bottom line, I’d would have watched this simply because Botet is in it. But besides him, the filmmakers do a good job with the storyline, making it different than what we’ve been getting with this type of story, which for me, was key. The acting is good and effective, especially with Sackhoff, as well as some of the imagery, especially with some of the statues, create a very creepy mood here. I’m not sure if I was really happy with the ending, but at least it was pretty original so I have to give kudos to that. Definitely worth checking out and a big step up from the usual dregs we’ve been getting from Hollywood over the last few years.

If you want, you can check out the trailer below. But I’d recommend just watching the film with fresh eyes.

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