Don’t Knock Twice is a horror movie made up of moments. Brief moments that spook & chill wrapped around a forgettable story & hit & miss acting.
Jess (Katee Sackhoff) gave her daughter up to an orphanage when she was younger having suffered a mental breakdown. Years later, more secure both mentally & financially she is looking to reconnect to Chloe (Lucy Boynton), her daughter. Chloe is now a teenager, your typical teenager. She is sullen, withdrawn & rebellious. Unsurprisingly she has no interest in her mother’s offer to come live with her & her partner, Ben (Richard Mylan).
That night, Chloe & her boyfriend Danny (Jordon Bolgor) sneak off to an abandoned house that is said to be home to a witch. Mary Animov lived there once but after being accused of killing some local kids she committed suicide.
Legend now says that if you approach the house & knock twice, her ghostly presence will knock back & she will come to claim you as her own. So naturally both Chole & Danny knock…& get an answer.
Danny is the first go that night once he returns home. While video-calling Chloe he is dragged away by an unseen figure. Chole is then attacked by the spirit scaring her enough to seek out her mother & ask to stay.
Jess is over the moon about Chloe staying, that is until the paranormal activity begins to happen around the house. Banging is heard, a tooth is found in food & Jess begins to dream about a Russian woman who claims to be a witch.
It seems as though Mary Animov has come to claim those who knocked at her door but as events worsen you’ll realise the mystery is deeper than that.
Don’t Knock Twice is a horror movie of moments. The plot is wafer-thin & amounts to nothing but the usual spooky-goings-on that are present in all supernatural movies. What Don’t Knock Twice does well though is fill the ‘scare’ moments with decent levels of tension, enough that some are surprisingly effective.
A lot of this is helped by the films glossy style. This isn’t a low-budget horror & some of the more outlandish moments prove that.
The idea that the witch needs a door to open to claim her victims adds a wonderful inventive set-piece where we see a character make the mistake of walking over a pub’s cellar door. It opens underneath her & she is gone. Really inventive, really shocking.
There are a few more well-done scenes such as one involving clay sculptures (even if it is a tiny bit predictable) but the movie lets itself down with a poor final payoff. It’s a ‘twist’ but only in that it makes little sense.
The calibre of acting is hit & miss. Katee Sackhoff as Jess is the standout. She is convincingly nervous about meeting her teenage daughter, desperate to please but frustrated like anyone else would be once things start to happen around the house. Unfortunately the rest of the cast are forgettable at best.
Don’t Knock twice isn’t offering anything in the way of freshness in the paranormal/ghostly-goings-on sub-genre of horror. However, it has enough fun & surprising moments to keep the paper-thin plot ticking along nicely.
Don't Knock Twice