A mother desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter becomes embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.
Hauntings and ghost stories are not my thing. They are usually carbon copies of each other, often relying solely on cheesy jump scares and a cliched score filled with organ music and creepy children laughing. With a few select exceptions, haunting horrors are made for the masses out looking for a cheap scare or a cuddle on a couch. I imagine shrieking tweens, sleepovers, and sugary drinks. They are good for profits but ultimately little else in my arrogant opinion.
Then along comes a film like Don't Knock Twice — something I was watching solely to shit all over to make myself feel important — and now here I sit effortlessly shamed.
Why is it good? The score is fantastic, but not original. It has a great, building ambiance that is ever very present throughout the movie, never taking a back seat. Our leading ladies are phenomenal and I'd need to see DNA records before I believed they were not blood-related. There is a smart lack of unnecessary special effects. The movie didn't need to follow in the footsteps of films like The Conjuring or Annabelle and is all the better for it. Much of the spirit’s antics are off screen for the first part of the film to set the tone of mistrust and confusion, which worked well. The Baba Yaga mythos has never quite been done in this way before, but I won’t go into any detail here as to avoid spoilers.
There was amazing attention to physical detail, like things as minute as the sound of wind when a camera pans, but also a great focus on the emotional details. The thing that makes the film truly great is the relationship between mother and daughter; the tension between Chloe's hatred after being abandoned and need needing her mother and Jess' wanting to please her daughter yet not knowing whether to believe her story.
The story, might I add, is also way better than most films in this particular genre (like It Follows or Drag Me To Hell). It tries very hard to be dynamic and unpredictable and for the most part, it succeeds. Definitely worth a watch and a solid four stars. If you are into the creepy ghost flicks, then this is could easily land a place in your top ten. A great cast, story, acting and believable reactions. Catch the trailer below and let us know your opinions in the comments.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.