By Jay Hunter – The recent success of Jordan Peele’s social-horror, Get Out making waves in the mainstream aside, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the horror genre is dying. But dig just a little under the surface and you’ll find a plethora of independent horror nasties wriggling beneath. Whilst not as ravenous as last years Train to Busan, seminal as The Wailing or as terrifying as The Witch, Caradog W. James’ (The Machine), Don’t Knock Twice fits comfortably in the same crypt.
“Knock once to wake her from her bed, twice to raise her from the dead…” So goes a disturbing urban legend involving an abandoned house supposedly inhabited by a vengeful, child-stealing witch. When troubled teen Chloe (Lucy Boynton) raps at the door one night, she has no idea the horror she’s about to unleash. Fleeing to the country home of her estranged mother (Katee Sackhoff)-a recovering addict who’s turned her life around to become a famous artist-Chloe must learn to trust the woman who gave her up years ago in order to stop the bloodthirsty, shape-shifting demon stalking them. This wild supernatural shocker delivers a barrage of nonstop jolts and searing nightmare images.
Where Don’t Knock Twice really succeeds is in it’s foreboding sense of dread, building up the terror into a satisfying crescendo. Unfortunately, James seemingly loses faith with his own – palpable shocks – and trades them in for more traditional jump scares far too often. Despite this, the crew uses what little resources they have with clever lighting choices and edits, delivering a satisfying horror movie with strong performances throughout.