Writer/director Sean Roberts, alongside producers Evan Freeman and Davron Mananov have crafted a tense and unnerving horror movie in The Night They Knocked. Something that combines two styles together, home invasion and classic slasher. The end result is a very effective, very grim and very memorable film.
A group of friends, all due to graduate, are spending the weekend together at Dom’s (Brendan Donegan) parent’s remote house in the woods. The plan is to get drink, get high and generally have a good time. All while pretending Dom’s brother, Derrick (Jack Buckley) doesn’t exist seeing as he’s a recently released convict.
The fun is interrupted though when there is a knock on the door. A night of terror is about to begin and few will survive the horror.
The story, while hardly original is more than capable of holding the attention. A large cast is given time to breathe and while one or two characters are bit bland, each serves a role in the story. Even if that role is just to be battered and/or hacked to death.
The pacing is on par, only a few times does it feel padded or dragged out. The build is worth experiencing though as the tension is built up bit. Enhanced wonderfully by a clever style of shooting. One that has you constantly scanning the background for anything out of the ordinary. Lingering shots have you expecting something to happen and when it doesn’t you almost feel a sense of relief. It’s easily the most impressive thing about the film.
When the villains of the movie do enter, they do so in a way that is both shocking and brutal. A sudden turn towards a much more violent and graphic style of horror. The make-up and effects are on absolute point here. Credit also has to be given to the level of realism in this violence too, a crack of a baseball bat sounding as solid as though the actor was actually hit with it.
It’s a very dark and cold movie, one that gets darker and colder as it reaches its conclusion. There’s not much to make you feel good here, aside from a finale that has the brothers unite for a fight they can not win.
If there is one flaw, it comes from the range of acting. Without naming names, there are some obvious deficiencies and it hurts the early portion of the movie. As well as meaning some moments that should have more of an emotional hit, just don’t have it.
It’s well worth putting up with it though as The Night They Knocked is such a wonderful watch. It won’t leave you feeling too good inside but you’ll marvel at what was accomplished here.
The Night They Knocked