Don’t Knock Twice
2016
Director: Caradog James
Stars: Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Boynton, Richard Mylan
Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

This is a movie I knew nothing about before I got it in for review; I haven’t even heard of it. That said, when I saw it was by IFC Midnight I was a little hopeful, as more often than not I’ve been impressed with their latest offerings such as Beyond the Gates, A Dark Song, I am Not a Serial Killer, and especially The Devil’s Candy. So was this going to be another winner, or something best left undisturbed? Well let’s find out.

Based on an old game everyone knows by a different name; I knew it as ding dong ditch, the British makers of this film call it knock down ginger, it’s where you knock or ring a doorbell and then run away into the night. What fun! But when some teens knock on the door of a dead reputed witch as a dare you know the real fun is about to begin. Basically things quickly turn into the typical angry ghost woman out for revenge, but thankfully there is more to Don’t Knock Twice than just that.

Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame, but also of the excellent Oculus movie from 2013, is the lead as an American artist living in the UK and the estranged mother of one of the knocking teens.  When her little girl becomes the next target of the ghost/witch lady, she begins to look into the history behind the urban legend and the tragic real world events that inspired it. What follows is a decent occult mystery that works on both the supernatural and mundane end of things. The ending is rather telegraphed if you are a connoisseur of horror movies, but if you’re a normie it might catch you off-guard. There are some surprisingly effective effects, both practical and more unexpectedly, CGI. The acting ranges from impressive at times to non-inspiring but never is it out-and-out bad. Lastly, the direction by Caradog James, who has done mostly TV work, shows he knows his stuff and has some real skill for the creepy.

Let’s get to the extras that IFC Midnight and Scream Factory included with their new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. There is “Behind Closed Doors: Inside Don’t Knock Twice,” a making-of that runs 13 minutes. There is also a trailer. And that’s it. Yep, not much here, but something is better than nothing I guess. It’s not bare bones for sure, but there could have been, should have been more here. The usual high standards of Scream Factory means anything less than their usual is a bit of a disappointment.

Don’t Knock Twice is a good fright flick that has a plot based on mythology often overlooked by storytellers. That said the film doesn’t break new ground and often plays it a little too safe, but while it mostly does the familiar, what it does it does well. The ending might be predictable to some, but all that came before it, like quite a few genuinely creepy moments, still makes the journey worth it. So yeah, this one gets a recommendation from me.