The Horror Honeys: A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Horror...

A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Horror...

A New Release Review with Linnie

Don't Knock Twice (2017)

“Do you know the scariest part about having a baby? It’s not the pain or the sleepless nights. It’s not even doing it alone. It’s the love. Nobody prepares you for that. It’s like this wave that crashes into you and pulls you out to sea. You can’t fight it. It’s too strong.”

One thing has become clear as we ease our way into the 2017 horror season: this year's horror "it girl" is the supernatural revenge film. As former Revenge Honey, you will get no complaints from this dame. It is a difficult genre to get right, and it more than deserves a few dances in the spotlight. One such genre entry I was really looking forward to this year was Caradog James' Don't Knock Twice, starring Honey Favorite Katee Sackhoff.

Which made the disappointment I felt even more palpable upon discovering that the horror was actually the weakest element of this horror film.

The Story: Artist and recovering addict Jess (Sackhoff) is working to re-establish a relationship with her teenaged daughter, Chloe (Lucy Boynton). Except Chloe seems to have gotten herself mixed up in an urban legend involving a witch named Mary Aminov, and now Mary is after Chloe, intent on feeding her to demon.

Worst Valentine ever.
Those uninitiated in the world of horror will likely find a few things to enjoy in Don't Knock Twice. Borrowing from the Slavic legend of the "baba yaga," the script from Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler valiantly attempts to establish a new mythology in what is clearly a stab at a franchise starter. There are problems with this, however, especially given the level of quality that we're already seeing from horror this year. First, as someone who comes from Slavic lineage, I can attest that the writers really shit the bed on the baba yaga story. There was a wealth of truly fascinating history there to craft into a terrifying horror film, and instead, Don't Knock Twice keeps things incredibly surface. It doesn't help that the story of the Mary Aminov feels similar to those of Matilda Dixon in Darkness Falls and more recently, Diana in Lights Out. The point being, it's time to widen the scope when it comes to witch stories, Hollywood.

Second, and most importantly, Don't Knock Twice is obviously meant to be a horror film but the moments where it really shines and engages are when it is simply a family drama, exploring the relationship between Jess and Chloe. Sackhoff and Boynton are excellent actresses and their chemistry as a troubled mother and daughter is believable enough to carry the film. But when the movie diverts back into the forced mythology of the supernatural aspect, the cracks start to show. Occasionally, when it seemed as if the "witch" might be acting as a metaphor for something deeper, it appeared that Don't Knock Twice had loftier aspirations. But a third act twist made it clear that no such aspirations existed. The script is about as deep as a puddle and in a year when the best horror also has something important to say about the times we live in, it's going to be hard for surface horror to stand out.

Iiiiiiii... will always love you. Even though I didn't care for this movie.
Don't Knock Twice offers a few jump scares that will startle even the seasoned horror-viewer, and the solid acting and unsettling CGI will never leave you bored. But this isn't a movie you will still be talking about at the end of the year. 

Rating: 2 & 1/2 nails to the foot out of 5

Don't Knock Twice is available via Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, YouTube VOD, Vudu, & Google Play