New Horror Releases: Don't Knock Twice (2017) - Reviewed

IFC Midnight presents this weekend's release of Don't Knock Twice, a horror film that's devilishly wicked at times but horrifically inane at others. 

Dealing with themes of abandonment and substance abuse, this genre entry strangely falters at actually capturing any decisive character development or advancement in the relationship between an estranged mother and her emotionally challenged daughter.

Set in the UK, the jump scares are tight, the setting is freakishly off putting at times, and the tone is reminiscent of many other current entries that pit female protagonists against a bone chilling, shadowy witch that can move from room to room with evil magical darkness and creepy movements directly ripped from every Japanese horror movie you've ever seen before. The aesthetics are there and the gothic atmosphere is ripe with creepiness, but the movie fails to bring anything new to the screen. Played like The Ring meets Blair Witch meets the urban decay of It Follows, the tale of Don't Knock Twice is ultimately let down by a bumbled, nearly nonsensical conclusion that expects far too much of its groaning audience. 

Starring Battlestar alumni and current horror maven Katee Sackhoff, this dark story of witchcraft starts off strong but loses its luster about halfway through. Somehow, (the talented) Sackhoff allowed herself to get roped into a project that has the markings of good horror but is really just a knock off of better offerings we've seen before. Centered on a story about a mother reconnecting with her daughter after years of being apart, Don't Knock Twice brings a great game to the first thirty minutes of the film but ends up treading water with head scratching stupidity and an ending that's rushed and gravely faulted by a dire conclusion. 

Holy crap! Battlestar! Best ending ever!

Fans of the genre will definitely find some minimal enjoyment out of this feature, but they'll most likely be let down by the routine narrative of stifled witchery. Something was held back with Don't Knock Twice.  Each time it seems like the story might go really dark or get excessively vicious, it cuts away or is mangled by bad editing or loose ends. If they had stuck closer to the context of the first third of the film instead of turning it into some interdimensional labrynthian forest maze of doom, it could have ended strong. Instead, they went the usual route and chose the easy way out. I'm disappointed.