A mother desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter becomes embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.
Genre : Horror
Country : UK
Katee Sackhoff : Jess
Lucy Boynton : Chloe
Javier Botet : Ginger
Caradog W. James
My opinion on “Don’t knock twice”
“Once to wake her from her bed.
Twice to raise her from the dead.
If you knock her door, she still hears it.
Sooner or later she comes knockin’ for you.”
The movie “Don’t knock twice” should be a must watch for the mischiefs who like to play “Ding Dong Ditch”. Maybe this frightening legend will make them think twice the next time before they do that again. Nowadays, a horror film has to be fairly original to get noticed, because you can’t keep up with the number of releases. The “Ding Dong Ditch” trick is an interesting approach. And at the same time there’s the dramatic part about the shaky relationship between a mother and daughter. Apparently, the haunting witch doesn’t only scares those brats but she’s also good in patching up a bad mother-daughter relationship.
Youngsters and legends. Always trouble.
All hell breaks loose after Chloe (Lucy Boynton) receives a visit from her mother Jess (Katee Sackhoff) in the orphanage, where she was placed years ago. And this because of her mother’s persistent addiction which made her unable to care for her daughter. It’s not surprising that this confrontation goes terribly wrong, after which her daughter takes off with her boyfriend. They end up at the house of Mary Aminov, an old woman who commited suicide because she was fed up with the banging on her front door. And she planned to visit those who torment her again in the future, as an evil spirit. And what a surprise. The two carefree teenagers, who know the legend but don’t really believe in it, knock on the door. And before you know it, you’ll jump up when that ugly witch sneaks out of some dark corner, after which Chloe’s friend suddenly disappears. That would seem an appropriate time for Chloe to knock on her mother’s door (with no consequences). And this is the beginning of a joint venture to find a solution to get rid of the curse that rests on Chloe.
It’s scary and creepy for sure.
Even though this movie contains a bunch of horror clichés that have been used in several films already, I thought it was scary and creepy enough. There are parts that remind you of the innumerable films about a possessed house with creepy sounds, threatening shadows and dark corners. There’s the diabolical spirit that controls the lights in a corridor (the same way as in “Lights out“), makes blood appear in cups of soup and creates hallucinations. And the creature that came out of the shadows immediately reminded me of the nasty demon in “Mama“. No wonder, because it was the same person, Javier Botet, who gave shape to this lugubrious, frightening creature.
Still a surprising ending.
Some may think that the two completely different storylines used in this film, don’t really fit together. Personally, I thought it was a successful experiment. Bringing in an unsolved murder case, felt a bit too forced. And if that’s not enough, you’ll be surprised in the end. “Don’t knock twice” effortlessly exceeds the average. It’s scarier and creepier than you would think. And the protagonists played in an excellent way. Maybe the emotional part was a bit exaggerated. But the fear they showed at certain moments, just seemed real. For Katee Sackhoff no problem, because she already had to go up against a supernatural phenomena in “Oculus“. And the unknown Lucy Boynton (whom I didn’t recognize from “Murder on the Orient Express“) produced quite some decibels while screaming. Well, this movie won’t win a prize for originality. But are planning a horror movie night? This’ll fit perfectly.
My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB
El Hoyo: A Bizarre Story That Leaves You With An Oppressive Feeling
Don’t speak to the people below. Why?
Because they’re down below.
The people above won’t answer you. Why?
Because they’re above.
“El Hoyo” is not just a frightening movie. It’s a movie with a moral. A film that makes you think. Could you call it horror? You could have an extensive discussion about this. For some of the detainees who are locked up in the prison portrayed in this film, it’s indeed horror. It depends on which floor they end up after a month of extensive eating or a month of terrible hunger. The first thing that came to mind was “Hey, they designed a vertical “Snowpiercer”. Be warned though. It’s brutal. Confronting. And as I said before, a moral lurks beneath the symbolic surface.
A platform filled with delicious food.
However, the set-up of the film is very simple. Take a sky-high building. A magically moving platform (hence the movie title). A group of convicts who are locked in groups of two on each floor. Finally, you establish a culinary department full of kitchen staff who all master the right culinary skills. And this department ensures that this platform is filled with delicacies every day with the same dose of enthusiasm, dedication, and love for their profession. From roasts, fruit bowls, and enormous chocolate cakes to haute cuisine with langoustines, lobster, and other gastronomically refined food. You can guess the outcome. As the platform sinks, the richly filled table turns into a desolate table full of empty dishes, pots, and smashed dinnerware, where you can’t even find a crumb on anymore.
Can you break the system?
Despite the simple concept and the fact that the entire film is set in one location, the film remains fascinating until the end. The denouement, however, is rather disappointing. That’s the only thing that put a damper on this film. Not that everything is very clear in this film. Why this facility has been designed in this way, isn’t explained anywhere. Is it to talk a conscience into the viewers? Is it a psychologically justified experiment? Or was there just someone random who came up with this brilliant idea to design this alternative penal institution? Besides, it’s not only convicts who were admitted here. Take Goreng (Ivan Massagué). This person will receive a diploma (as a social worker?) after serving a 6-month prison sentence. Is it a form of an internship? Or self-flagellation? Even the mechanism behind the falling platform remained a mystery to me. But I got no problem with these unresolved questions. Unfortunately, the main question of how the system could be beaten is left unanswered. Or was it just the intention to leave everyone in the dark?
Let’s make it a better place.
It’s crystal clear they tried to deliver a socially critical message. It’s broadly an allegorical representation of our contemporary society. A society with an unfair distribution of prosperity and richness. And the vast majority of those who own the most wealth in our society, are disinclined to share it with those of the lower classes. And the plea of the less fortunate falls on deaf ears, so they are doomed to rely on less humane practices. And, of course, there are the world improvers among us and people thinking they are a newborn St. Martin, who make frantic efforts to convince others to participate in working on a better world and to call for solidarity. A fairer world. And mocking laughter and derision are usually the results of their efforts. The only difference with real life is that people change in the social ladder from month to month in this prison. Some in a positive, others in a negative way.
Bizarre and repugnant.
“El Hoyo” is a bizarre story that leaves you with an oppressive feeling. As the film progresses you realize how awful it is for some in this gray, grim tower. And these abject conditions are also explicitly shown. Suffocatingly realistic. So expect some bloody and gory images full of excessive violence as well (not suitable for sensitive souls). For some, the sight of men eating food like animals (which reminded me a bit of “La Grande Bouffe”), it will be repugnant already. But otherwise, this original film is easy to digest (just to stay with the subject). And not only because of the splendid acting. It’s not without reason that the film is a great success on Netflix. So you can see that this film platform occasionally programs better movies.
My rating 7/10
A Night of Horror : Nightmare Radio | There’s Something For Everyone
Are you a fan of horror anthology films (such as “Tales from the crypt“, “Creepshow“, “Tales of Halloween”, “XX” or “Tale of Tales”)? Well, you might as well like this movie. Provided you are not an avid lover of short films and continuously seek for horror short films on YouTube or other channels. Because then it may well be that you’ve already seen a few of the films that are used in “A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio“. This anthology isn’t a collection of newly made short films. It’s a collection of pre-existing short films. And these are all connected through a central storyline with DJ Rod Wilson (James Wright) who broadcasts a night program on some local radio station. A program in which he (and also a few nightly callers) tries to delight listeners with some chilling and creepy ghostly stories. It’s not Halloween yet, but it would be a suitable movie for that period of the year.
“Post Mortem Mary” is an eye-opener (no pun intended).
Frankly, I thought the beginning of the film looked very promising and exciting. The first short (“In the Dark Dark Woods”, a sort of alternative version of “The Invisible Man”) and the introduction of the bearded, radio guy gave me a taste for more. And when the second short story (highlight of the whole movie and my absolute favorite) was over, I was already getting ready for even more of that. “Post Mortem Mary” isn’t only fantastic in terms of content. The handling of the camera, the way in which the story was portrayed and the ever-rising suspense in this excruciatingly exciting short story, produced a very successful end result. It’s the story of a mother and her young daughter Mary earning their living in Australia in 1840 as post-mortem photographers. The idea is to photograph the corpse as vividly as possible. Something Mary has yet to learn. It’s a fantastic short film that was well received at some festivals in 2017 and won some prizes worldwide.
More stories to come.
Unfortunately, none of the subsequent stories reached the same level as the previous short films. Not that they were awfully bad or of a sadly low level. But “Post Mortem Mary” is head and shoulders above the rest. “A little off the Top” is a bit of a sinister story that focuses on the insanity (Or craftiness. It’s just how you look at it) of a hairdresser. “Drops” demonstrates how a traumatic experience torments a Spanish young dancer. I thought “The Disappearance of Willie Bingham” was kind of successful. A somewhat different story about how a death penalty is converted into a more alternative punishment. In my view a fairly funny story. “The smiling man” undoubtedly deserves a place behind Mary’s story. Concise and terrifying at the same time. Without too much fuss. The final short films “Into the Mud” and “Vicius” were, in my opinion, the weakest ones.
Diversity and Quality. What more do you want?
The fact is that by making a selection of existing short films in “A Night of Horror: Nightmare Radio“, the quality level is very high. None of the stories gives you the feeling as if they were quickly produced, such that the intended playing time of the feature-length film could be reached. Another advantage is that the movie scores well in terms of diversity. There’s something for everyone. Only “Into the Mud” (a kind of mythologically oriented fantasy story) feels a little bit like the odd one out here. The only downside was the overarching story of the DJ himself. First of all, I didn’t think it was convincing enough. It even felt a bit boring. And the denouement was a bit of an anti-climax. Yet to my surprise, I enjoyed this movie more than I expected. So if you feel like hearing some scary, paranormal stories with a lurid touch, then you’ll be fine with this film.
My rating 7/10
We have about 30 minutes till meltdown.
And, uh, it’s gonna blow us into tiny pieces to the surface.
Am I a Kristen Stewart fan? On the contrary. To be honest, I seriously dislike this actress. Not that her acting is so terribly bad. And in a way, she’s not a bad looking young woman either. But her attitude and facial expression don’t really make her amiable. In the past I’ve already mentioned that her phlegmatic character equals that of a pancake and it seems as if her face was drenched in starch, because of her emotionless look. “Personal Shopper” and “Equals” were suitable films for this “always-seriously-looking” actress. Unfortunately, “Personal Shopper” was terribly boring and sleep-inducing. So, what convinced me to watch the movie “Underwater“? No idea. Maybe because I heard this spectacle film was kind of a mixture of “Alien” and “The Abyss”. In retrospect, this fact was also rather disappointing.
It’s an ordinary dish.
You can compare “Underwater” with a classic dish served in an average brasserie. It smells good and tastes delicious, but it lacks the finesse of a star restaurant. You don’t get excited. And you don’t look disappointed at your empty plate, hoping that a waiter comes over and asks if you want an extra portion. The only feeling left is that of recognizability. Haven’t we seen this before? And didn’t it taste the same as the last time?
Is it an earthquake? Nope.
I have to admit the film continues at a blistering pace. Before you realize it, the entire underwater drilling platform collapses and Norah (Kristen Stewart) must hurry through destroyed corridors and debris-filled compartments. A claustrophobic spectacle that takes place seven miles deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known spot in the ocean. At first glance, it appears to be an undersea earthquake that causes Norah and some survivors to figure out an escape scenario very quickly. But when they step along the ocean floor, in heavy, futuristic-looking wetsuits (“Pacific Rim” inspired gear), it soon becomes clear that it’s something else that’s attacking them. Once again, it’s humanity that pushed the boundaries. Like the speleologists in “The Silence“, the drilling company most likely is the cause of unearthly creatures surfacing. In short, they have tapped into the wrong source while drilling for raw materials.
Lot’s of action.
I myself had that feeling of breathlessness while watching “Underwater”. When you realize that this crew is surrounded by millions of tons of ocean water that presses on them with crushing force, you wouldn’t want to trade places with them for any money in the world. A stumbling walk through pitch-black darkness, knowing that you could run out of oxygen anytime, your pressure suit could implode due to a construction fault or a strange underwater monster sucking the life out of you in a fraction of a second. I’d hyperventilate and show panicky behavior for less. “Underwater” is a suitable film for viewers who prefer to watch a movie that is packed with persistent action scenes. So preferably, no character development or a sophisticated storyline that’s being built up in a subtle way. In short, for fans of fast food chains and fast microwave meals (Indeed, I am quite culinary-inspired today).
Lack of tension.
Although you can admire a multitude of fantastic underwater footage (and making underwater images is no easy task), the fact it all takes place underwater (hence the film-title) is a disadvantage to the film. The images aren’t really clear and most of the time blurred and hazy. Especially during the vigorous moments when the sea monsters play an important role. Thus, the moments when the crew experienced a life-threatening situation, the footage didn’t have the desired impact most of the time. And that was the biggest turnoff for me. The lack of any tension. It’s not a completely boring film, but there wasn’t really nail-biting suspense. No astonishing plot twists or surprises. In addition, none of the actors really stood out. They were all uninteresting, two-dimensional characters, to say the least. I can’t really call “Underwater” impressive. Even Kirsten Stewart’s ultra-short bleached haircut didn’t have the desired shock effect. And to be honest, it didn’t help that she walked around half of the movie in her underwear. If they had chosen Scarlett Johansson instead, it would have made an impression. In that case, the three-dimensional aspect of the character Norah would come across much better! Significantly better!