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Don’t Knock Twice (Blu-ray Review)

Scream Factory and IFC Midnight are back at it again with another supernatural horror pairing. This time its in the form of British horror film Don’t Knock Twice, A wild supernatural shocker that delivers a barrage of nonstop jolts and searing nightmare images. The film stars Katee Sackhoff (Whom I’ve long been a fan of) and Lucy Boynton (Whom I’ve recently become a fan of via the terrific Sing Street) as a mother-daughter duo.  Please note that this one has the Walmart exclusive tag on it, and you’ll only be able to get it there starting June 6th. If you’re that anti-Walmart, or don’t need it right away, you’ll be able to buy it pretty much everywhere else that carries Scream Factory titles on August 1st. So, if you pre-order it from me from the Amazon link below (Coming soon) like a good reader, your copy won’t get to you until August 1st.

Film 

When troubled teen Chloe defies a local legend’s warning and knocks at the door of a long-abandoned house, she unleashes a horror beyond her darkest nightmares – the vengeance of a relentless child-stealing witch. With nowhere else to turn, Chloe heads for the country home of her estranged mother, Jess – a recovering addict who is desperate to reconnect with her daughter. Now, mother and daughter must once again learn to trust each other if they have any hope of surviving the relentless force shadowing Chloe.   

Don’t Knock Twice features some interesting exercises in supernatural suspense and low budget spooks, but really can’t pull together something engaging.  The film plays on the Baba Yaga, a creature that is similar in story structure, surrounding characters and plot beats to a load of horror movies you’ve already seen countless times. It fails to stand out in the crowd and wants itself to look cold and dour the whole time, leaving its dramatics and in between scares scenes with just some unfun monotone monotony.

Katee Sackhoff starring in the film got my interest a bit. She gets a weighty emotional role and is pretty solid in the part. Its odd to realize that she’s playing moms now.  It seems like just yesterday she went from annoying me in Halloween: Resurrection to turning me around on her with Battlestar Galactica. Across from her is Lucy Boynton who turned some heads with Sing Street. Here, she looks much younger than that movie. Her character is a bit of a tough pill to swallow, but I think that’s to the credit of Boynton as she’s able to play it troubled, untrusting and a little mentally insecure due to her upbringing.

It seems like there was more on the table for Don’t Knock Twice to be this little indie gem, but it just wound up stuck in mediocrity. Everything about the film, from some of the horrors to the overall aesthetic of the color grading and lighting is just safe, expected and very also ran. I’ll give it some of the sound design elements, but overall, this one is best served as an “I got nothing else to watch and want something new in the horror genre to watch” streaming category.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-25

Clarity/Detail: Don’t Knock Twice comes with a rather faded, colder looking image due to the aesthetic.  Its a sharp crisp image, but void of any real pop. Details are solid with textures of surfaces like wood showing good grain or some of the decay on walls or whatnot. Overall, this is kind of your run of the mill IFC Midnight transfer, and that’s just fine.

Depth:  Average depth and dimensional work here. Characters do look good and free in their environments. Movements are natural and have minimal issues with jitter/blurring.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and slightly have the little lightened/grayer look to them. Darker scenes can hide some information. No crushing witnessed on this viewing for the film.

Color Reproduction: Colors are pretty much muted out here. There are some moments of blood or the colors of drinks that have cryptic visions with them.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a bit faded and cold looking throughout and maintain a consistency begin to end. Facial details like stubble, lip texture, make-up and freckles can be seen well in close ups and decently in more pulled back medium shots (But have a hair of smoothness to them).

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Stereo

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Don’t Knock Twice carries a 5.1 mix that has some really good moments and an overall solid performance top to bottom. Effects are the highlight, all the creeks cracks and supernatural noises sounding well rounded and very full. This mix has some fun going speaker to speaker. It also features a nice balance between vocals, music and those said effects.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Loud jump scares, music stings, door slamming, bodies hitting the floor and more get some good pounding from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: This mix does a good job of spreading the love, or spooks as we should say. Things randomly can happen back to front and to one side or the other. Rear speakers are more involved than just some ambiance. Movements are accurate.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are crisp and clear with solid attention to diction from the characters’ line deliveries.

Extras 

Don’t Knock Twice comes with the DVD edition of the film.

Behind Closed Doors: Inside Don’t Knock Twice (HD, 13:30) – A little behind the scenes featurette with on-set footage and interviews with the cast and crew (Primarily the film’s director).

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:43)

Summary 

Don’t Knock Twice, maybe just don’t even knock at all. Its a film that’s very pedestrian with the promise of being maybe more. This Blu-ray gives you a pretty solid presentation in both the video transfer and the audio mix.  Extras are light, but there is a behind the scenes. This one is best served as being a rental or wait for it to show up on one of your streaming subscription services.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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