“Knock Knock” (2015) Directed by Eli Roth. Starring Keanu Reeves, Lorenza Izzo and Ana De Armas. Poor 40-year-old, neglected by his wife and sex- starved Evan is ambushed by two randy gals that blackmail him. He gets back at them by comparing them to free pizza. Which is kind of unfair to free pizza.
While his family is away, wealthy architect Evan invites two lost girls in out of the rain to dry off and call for a ride. Seduction, terror, humiliation and violence follow as the ladies play their favorite game with the married fella.
At the outset of Eli Roth’s psychological thriller, based on the 1977 film “Death Game,” we learn that Evan loves his wife Karen and two children Jake and Lisa very much and that because of Karen’s book project, the couple haven’t had sex in several weeks. They nearly do in the opening scene, but then the kids burst in with a Father’s Day cake and kill the mood. The ultramodern cube-like house is humanized by multiple family portraits and Karen’s sculptures and paintings.
Karen is taking the kids to the beach for the weekend while Evan stays home with the family pug, Monkey, and finishes a building project. He mostly just gulps red wine, smokes weed and makes cool models with a 3D printer. Night falls and so does heavy rain.
There’s a knock at the door and Evan meets two beautiful strangers, dark-haired Genesis and exotic blonde Bell. They got lost looking for a party that is happening miles away on a similarly named street, and they ask if they can use Evan’s phone and iPad. He invites them in and eventually calls them a car.
While they wait for nearly an hour for the Uber driver to arrive, Bell and her pal fawn all over Evan’s awesome stuff. He’s got an incredible vinyl collection from his days as a disc jockey, which makes him super cool in their eyes. The girls can’t believe he’s 43.
Evan seems to enjoy their unsubtle flirting and politely acquiesces to their increasingly obvious requests. Can we come in from the rain becomes Can we strip out of these wet clothes and dry them in the laundry room?
The driver arrives and Evan honestly attempts to get rid of his guests, whom he finds nude in the bathroom, giggling. In a scene vital to the message the film eventually sends, the two women forcibly pull Evan’s penis from his pants and take turns sucking it before he finally “gives in” and the trio have sex in the shower, followed by a pulsating montage of lust in the bedroom, where Evan’s earlier hesitancy is replaced by Evan screwing Genesis and then Bell with maximum enthusiasm.
The next morning, the two girls go all out making breakfast. Monkey is eating off the kitchen table and Evan can’t comprehend why his recent lovers aren’t gone yet. Karen calls on Skype and the girls perform sex acts with each other in the windows as Evan tries to block his wife’s view. Genesis then claims that Bell is only 15 years old and the pair tell Evan that he’ll become a sex offender if he tries to get rid of them. They like his amazing house and all his nice stuff, and they mock him for betraying his wife. They behave like immature slobs, creating huge messes and defacing the family portraits. They write “My Dad Has AIDS” on a photo of Evan’s son Jake.
Finally, Evan calls the police. As he’s describing the situation to the dispatcher, the girls suddenly agree to leave. He drives them into a populated area and drops them off. Then it’s straight back to red wine and lonesome bliss with the 3D printer, with all that nasty business swept under the rug. Now he can sit back, smug in the knowledge that he had crazy sex with two attractive women and no one will ever know. Everything is going his way.
The girls return with a vengeance, destroying the interior of the house, playing a weird game show with a tied up Evan in which they describe his future as a lonely sex offender and blasting his ears with screeching feedback via his sound system and headphones. They paint over Karen’s work and torture Evan after he nearly escapes.
Bell dons Lisa’s child sized school uniform and underwear and orders Evan, who is bound to a bed, to have sex with her. While she’s on top, he growls: “I’m gonna fuck you like a little girl.”
Two side characters, a physical therapist and Karen’s agent who wants to move her work, intrude and one of them is killed by Genesis and Bell. The very second an innocent life is taken, it annihilates the initial validity of the girl’s angry point of view regarding philandering husbands and by default,
Evan becomes the victimized, whining hero. How boring.
And then there’s the Keanu Issue. Reeves is an actor who works best when he plays it stoic….as a taciturn, no-nonsense bomb squad officer in “Speed,” a super powered savior in “The Matrix” trilogy or an earnest FBI recruit in “Point Break.” He’s always shined while portraying men of action, as his recent success in the violent thriller “John Wick” has underlined.
But men of action flounder in the thorny moral quagmires psychological thrillers can present, and towards the end of the film, Reeves is required to display high emotion for several scenes in which Evan is losing his mind. After he is told he is to be executed for his crime of boning some hotties, Reeves delivers this gem of a monologue:
“Death? Death? You’re gonna kill me? You’re gonna fucking kill me? Why? Why? Because I fucked you? YOU FUCKED ME! YOU FUCKED ME! You came to my house. You came to me. I got you a car. I got you your clothes while you took a fucking bubble bath. You wanted it. You came on to me. What was I supposed to do? You sucked my cock. You both FUCKING sucked my cock!
It was free pizza! FREE FUCKING PIZZA! It just shows up at my fucking door. What am I supposed to do? We’re flight attendants. Come on, fuck us. Oh, come on, fuck us! Twosomes! Threesomes! It doesn’t matter. You don’t give a fuck. You just fuck anything. You lied to me. I tried to help you. I let you in. I was a good guy. I’m a good father. And you’re just gonna fuck me? What? Now you’re gonna kill me? Why? WHY? Because you fucked me? What the fuck-fuck! This is fucking insane!”
“What was he thinking?” I asked myself as I ate pizza I had paid for.
Chilean actress Lorenza Izzo, who is Eli Roth’s wife and played Genesis, is very convincing and has chemistry with her partner in crime, Ana De Armas as Bell. “Knock Knock” is well shot and manages to generate suspense in a few scattered moments, but it’s hampered by Reeve’s unhinged performance and by the fact that you kind of agree with the villains. It occasionally becomes laughable where it should be terrifying.
Because Evan is sex-starved due to his busy wife, and tried so hard to see his guests on their way early on, and because they tugged his penis out to give him a blowjob, we know that Evan having sex with the ladies is okay because they totally forced him into it, right? If Evan had walked into the bathroom stark naked to the sounds of Barry White and gotten busy, this would be a completely different film.
But there were myriad opportunities to put his foot down and get rid of the pesky nuisances before he AGREED to have intercourse with them in a series of positions in the bed he shared with Karen that morning. Evan’s ultimate fate is justified.
Bell and Genesis might be scary women, but Evan? That guys a real bitch.