Jess (Katee Sackhoff) used to be a drug addict and a punk but she’s cleaned up her act. Now she is a rich and successful sculptor married happily to equally rich banker. As she is redecorating her huge new villa she decides to retrieve the custody of her teenage daughter, Chloe (Lucy Boynton). Chloe was clearly a mistake from her turbulent past but not every mistake is easy to mend. The girl is hardly impressed by her glamorous mum – after all she had left her behind when she needed her most. The family problem is additionally complicated by a certain red-haired witch who wants to kidnap Chloe like she’d already done with her best buddy, Dan. Both kids used to be very unkind to her right before she committed a suicide… and then they dared come to her front door and knock twice even if they knew it was a stupid thing to do…
It was a modest production but not entirely bad for a horror. Horrors and thrillers aren’t supposed to be masterpieces, right? So, we get here a big, luxurious mansion, two women with problems left to their own devices, and an evil witch – what premise can be simpler? No bloodbath, just hints here and there and a creepy ghost of a woman who committed suicide. Plus a demon.
I liked the fact that the character of the witch was a tad more complex than usual – there was more to her than met the eyes. A mother-daughter dynamics was also rather refreshing; usually in such stories the main protagonist is an orphan or he/she looks for their parents; here we have a repentant mother and a daughter who is clearly scared but still unwilling to trust the very person she should have trusted the most. The ending came with a huge twist, a bit too huge for my liking I have to admit. It looked as if the director hoped for the sequel very badly…
As I’ve already started complaining: after half an hour of watching I had a feeling “Don’t Knock Twice” never would go anywhere really interesting plot-wise. Unfortunately I was right. It seemed its creators didn’t know what to do with their characters, even those with some potential. Were they supposed to be insane? Possessed? Drugged? Just careless and stupid? Were the witches and demons real or not? Had they had any viable agenda (demons and witches that is)? It didn’t help that Jess and Chloe made decisions that were consistently ludicrous and their secondary relationships also wavered between inanity and ridiculousness.
There was one finer feature, underappreciated, unfortunately, by the director. The demon, awoken as a result of kids’ disregard of an urban legend, needs to enter through a closed door in order to seize its prey. Contrary to basic instincts those hoping to fend off the demon must avoid closed doors of any kind. It could have added a lot to the tense atmosphere. It didn’t because it was almost completely disregarded. Pity.
A mediocre witch story but with some finer moments – watch it once if you want to indulge in ‘spooky’ atmosphere but do it at home.