From The Strangers to The Purge, the home invasion thriller is a subgenre that has been pretty well tread in the last decade or so, most likely due to the fact that the confined setting and limited cast can work wonders for a film’s budget.
Adding a (mostly) new wrinkle to that oft-used premise, Hostel director Eli Roth has set out to combine the tropes of a home invasion movie with those of a Fatal Attraction style “infidelity gone wrong” piece. The resulting final product is a Keanu Reeves fronted nailbiter entitled simply Knock Knock. The first trailer for the film is embedded above, courtesy of Roth’s Facebook page.Knock Knock stars Reeves as Evan, a successful architect with a seemingly perfect life. He has a a gorgeous wife, overachieving kids, and an immaculate dream home that he himself designed. Things appear to be going so well that Evan doesn’t even mind when his family goes off to spend Father’s Day weekend at the beach, leaving him all alone back at the house.
Before too long, Evan’s solitude is interrupted by the titular knocking of Bel (Ana de Armas) and Genesis (Roth’s own wife Lorenza Izzo). The two beautiful young women proceed to flatter and slowly seduce Evan, who resists for a time, but eventually succumbs to their charms. The next morning, Evan awakes to find his house trashed, and is soon forced to take part in the sadistic games Bel and Genesis have in store for their lover turned victim.
If you think that plot sounds familiar, then you’ve likely seen the 1977 exploitation flick Death Game, from which Knock Knock takes almost all of its plot cues. However, this is not a simple case of plagiarism. Roth’s original intention was to make a straight remake of Death Game, but after tracking down the original copyright holders, Roth discovered that the companies involved with making the movie had long since dissolved.
With nobody available to purchase the official rights from, Roth decided to do the next best thing, hiring Death Game director Peter Traynor and stars Colleen Camp and Sondra Locke on as executive producers of Knock Knock. That still doesn’t make Knock Knock an officially sanctioned remake – and the character names have indeed been changed – but it at least shows Roth’s respect for his predecessors.
For Reeves, Knock Knock may represent the continuation of a possible career renaissance. Many had pegged the former Neo as being on the downward slope in recent years, especially after the critical and commercial flop of 47 Ronin. That was until last year’s guns blazing action flick John Wick, which starred Reeves as an elite assassin brought out of retirement by the murder of his beloved dog, who happened to be a gift from his late wife. John Wick earned Reeves critical acclaim for his performance, and a box office haul of over $70 million on a budget of $20 million.
While Knock Knock represents a gear shift from wall-to-wall action to psychological suspense, it still stands a good chance of perpetuating the good feelings audiences currently have for Reeves. Its relatively meager $10 million budget also makes profitability quite likely. Knock Knock still has yet to acquire U.S. distribution, but with Roth at the helm and Reeves in the lead, it’s hard to imagine that will be true for much longer.
Knock Knock is still seeking U.S. distribution, and has no current release date.
Source: Eli Roth
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