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Review: Don’t Knock Twice – “Sackhoff and Boynton persevere valiantly”

Don’t Knock Twice is directed by Caradog James (‘The Machine’), and written by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler (‘Howl’). The film stars Katee Sackhoff (‘Battlestar Galactica’), Lucy Boynton (‘Sing Street’) and Nick Moran (‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’)

Jess (Sackhoff) is a successful sculptor who has just been reunited with her estranged daughter, Chloe (Boynton). The two have been apart for nine years, due to Jess being deemed unfit to parent, but Chloe is now out of her home and back with her mother for a trial custody.

Unfortunately, Chloe recently played ‘knock and run’ at a haunted house, and is now being stalked by a witch whose M.O. is that one knock will wake her up, but two will bring her after you. Which seems a bit out of order – who does just one knock? Anyway, due to some hazily explained disappearances and some kind of traumatic past event involving Chloe, she is being investigated by Detective Boardman (Moran).

Nick Moran must have shot the majority of his stuff apart from Sackhoff and Boynton as he seems to be in another film entirely. OTT and odd to the point of confusion, the performance is also hindered by a strange script that is inconsistent, overblown, self-important, and unintentionally funny – with plot holes big enough to push the witch’s house through.

The writing may, at times, be random to the point of free-form, but Sackhoff and Boynton persevere valiantly. Sackhoff is a wonderful wounded mother who desperately wants to win back and protect the daughter she lost; while Boynton is a believably spiky and snappy resentful teen.

The ghostly witch creature is surprisingly decent, and Caradog James whips up some examples of haunting imagery and pretty standard (if cheating) jump scares. Yet, choices, turns and decisions are often illogical and inconsistent, and the whole thing ends as a half-baked, frustratingly-unresolved-to-satisfaction mess.

Don’t Knock Twice is released in the UK on the 31st of March.

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