Horror Movie Review: Knocking (2021)

Knocking (Swedish: Knackningar) is directed by Frida Kempff and written by Emma Broström, based on a short story by Johan Theorin. The film stars Cecilia Milocco, Krister Kern, Albin Grenholm, Ville Virtanen and Alexander Salzberger.

Cecilia Milocco plays Molly who has spent some time in a psychiatric ward following a traumatic event that changed her life forever. Having left the ward and looking to move on with her life, she has moved into a small apartment in a tower block.

Everything seems fine, her neighbours seem fine and aside from constant calls from her doctor, Molly seems able to cope. She just needs some peace and quiet, which is disturbed by the sudden and constant knocking from the apartment above her.

When she queries this with the owner, neighbours and building manager, no-one else has heard the knocking. Yet, it continues… Molly begins to believe that someone is trapped upstairs, trying to communicate with her and their life is in danger.

Is someone actually in need or is it all part of Molly’s delusions following her traumatic event?

A slow burn of a thriller tinged with dark, horror elements. Knocking is an excellently told, atmospheric movie that stays with you long afterwards. All credit must be given to Cecilia Milocco who commands the screen exceptionally well. Through little dialogue, we learn so much about her but are still left to make up our own minds about certain events. One being her traumatic event. Something that is shown through flashbacks of happier times with a partner.

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Like Molly, you’re left wondering just what is real and what isn’t. Like Molly, you’ll start to question the motivations of the building’s residents and wonder just who can be trusted. It’s all to easy to look at her, know her history and dismiss her concerns but what if she’s right? What if, through inaction and disbelief, someone dies when you could have done something? A great portrayal of gaslighting.

It’s these questions and how the narrative frames them, that makes Knocking such a compelling watch.

As well, elements such as sound and lighting really make a difference here. As the film goes on and Molly’s mind begins to unravel, sounds seem more ominous and worrisome. Whereas, the lighting becomes less bright and hopeful, barely illuminating the gloom of the apartment later in the movie. It’s clever touches like this that really add the meat to the bones of this story.

While it is a slow burn of a movie, there’s no chance of boredom setting in. It’s not that long and the pacing is pretty much nailed. Even if nothing especially is happening, it’s building atmosphere and preparing for the next memorable beat.

Don’t presume to know the direction that Knocking is going in. The film has some surprises up its sleeve too. An excellent hidden gem of a thriller/horror movie.




Knocking (2021)
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