There’s an urban legend that tells of an elderly woman that’s said to be a witch and does the bidding for a demon who feasts off of young children. You go to the witch’s house, one knock wakes her spirit, the second knock opens the door to unleash her. A young girl named Chloe whom she and her friend believe the witch took someone they knew go to the witch’s home and knock twice. Chloe has been in the foster care system since her mother gave her up due to addiction and Chloe feels bitter against her for this. Feeling she might be safe in her care she goes to live with her mother Jess. As the mother and daughter work to rebuild their relationship, the evil that Chloe has unleashed threaten to tear them apart.
It’s a shame that this movie didn’t get a wide theatrical release. Instead it got stamped with the limited and digital release format. Don’t Knock Twice is actually a very well-done film and provides an engaging story with some pretty great thrills. On one hand we have a very solid mother/daughter storyline involving Jess and Chloe. Katee Sackhoff provides an extremely strong performance as an ex-addict who is only trying to make things right with her daughter. Sackhoff really does a fine job of showing the struggle she’s going through of trying to put the past behind her, win her daughters’ affections, and ultimately fight for Chloe’s life. Chloe is played by Lucy Bonyton and provides a well-done performance as well. She captures the bitter and cold attitude of Chloe towards her mother well, but then does an even better job of showing the gradual emotional attachment she begins to feel. Putting the two together is even better because they play off of each other so well and really capture the mother/daughter aspects of the story and you really care for them and hope they both come out of this alive. The horror aspect is super well-done here as well. It features a lot of creepy imagery involving the demon, and even just capturing it’s shadow is enough to bring on the chills.
It’s also worth mentioning that this is excellently filmed too and provides a great helping hand into making the horror work, as mentioned the way the camera captures the demon is great, and even the way it captures the characters moving around the house (inside or out) can make it creepy. It keeps the jump scares to a minimum and purely relies on the build up of scenes, the imagery, and the creepy atmosphere to make the horror work. The script does a good job of covering important aspects pertaining to the folklore of the witch and the demon that makes everything in the ending work. It features some nice plot twists as well that keep it from being too basic. I have no doubt that some people will be able to predict what happens, and that may ruin it for them, so be it. Some will even point out some of the movies it reminds them of, which may be off-putting. The latter is a little unavoidable, but it didn’t ruin the experience for me. I do however wish that the final act that takes place in a particular setting had been more eventful than it was because I really loved what they gave, and I wanted more from it.
Don’t Knock Twice, despite some familiarity of other films, really presents itself as a fresh story and does so with great confidence. It has a perfect blend of familial drama and horror, both are giving a great amount to shine, but I do feel the horror gets more of the pull in the end. Which doesn’t bother me in the slightest. With a solid script, being really well-filmed, and the great performances by the two leads, I highly recommend this movie. It’s available on iTunes right now, but if you happen to have it playing in a theater near you, definitely check it out there.