Movies

Knock Knock

Knock Knock Review

When it comes to genre-mashups, we all have our favourites involving horror. Whether it be Horror/ Sci-fi (Yes!), Horror/ Western (Yeehaw!) or Horror/ Romance (…meh). But my personal favourite is Horror/ Comedy. WHAT A COMBO! There’s just something about these two genres that work well together and I love it! You know what else I love? THE 80’s! Damn that was a good decade for movies. The cheesy soundtracks, the vibrant colours and the hilarious special effects. Imagine my delight when I realised that ‘Knock Knock’ has it all!

Here’s the IMDB Summary; ‘Knock Knock’ tells the story of down-on-his-luck former boxer Sam Grant, who one night finds himself caught in a whirlwind of conjecture and conundrum as his colorful and quirky neighbors come to him with scary tales of their apartment’s mysterious new resident. Inspired by the retro horror classics of VHS days gone by, ‘Knock Knock’, is sure to be a treat for any horror fan and aficionado.

The movie starts with a bizarre ad for a pizza company, complete with the typical visual flickers and sound quality associated with a VHS. The peculiar advertisement stars the dapper Walter D. Zaarke (complete with stick-on muttonchops) as he spends a couple of minutes describing the best, most wondrous, most mysterious pizza out there today. This sets the tone for the entire movie. Sounds ridiculous right? It is! And it’s FANTASTIC!

If the intro isn’t nostalgic enough for you, the opening soundtrack certainly will be. As soon as that synth-tastic, John Carpenter-esque tune hits your ears you’ll be transported back to the time of big hair, spandex and Rubik’s cubes. Once you’re settled, cue the comedy! With a hilarious script and perfectly cast actors you can’t help but laugh. It’s cheesy, goofy and if you imagine a grown up version of Scooby Doo (regrettably without the Great Dane himself) you’ll be pretty close to what Knock Knock is all about.

Knock Knock

When Sam ‘Stonefist’ Grant (Kerry Tartack) returns home, he doesn’t expect his quirky neighbour Olivia (Sisi Berry) waiting for him. Even more surprising is her theory about the newest resident in the building. With him partying all night and sleeping all day he’s just oozing vampiric traits. As a result, she’s invited fellow neighbours round to help; goofball stoner Dragon (Chuk Hell) and super smart Gretchen (Rachel Atterson).

You can easily envisage more movies with this brilliant cast and it’s clear that Director/ Writer Toby Canto Jr. has a flare for filmmaking. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re looking for an in-depth, story-driven movie with genuine scares, this isn’t the flick for you. However, if you’re looking for a wacky, fun, nostalgic experience, then dust off your old pastel tracksuit and enjoy the trip down memory lane.

If you like what you see then check it out!

Further info

The movie is available on DVD, BluRay, and streaming on Amazon Prime and Tubi. Check out the links below and enjoy!

DVD/ BluRay

Amazon Prime

Tubi

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The Candy Witch

There’s something about urban legends that tends to resonate with the masses. Whether this be the mystery, intrigue or the peril they usually portray, many of these chilling tales of folklore have been around for generations. Some have regional variations, whilst others are a mosaic of legends; bits and pieces of different stories brought together to show a terrifying new image. The Candy Witch seems to fall into this category.

With a tagline of ‘Sweet dreams… forever!’ The synopsis states;

Two ghost hunters are called upon by a distressed family who claim they are being tormented by an evil spirit known in their local town as The Candy Witch. But as the mystery of her curse is uncovered, surprising and sinister turns are discovered around The Candy Witch’s identity. Their hardest case yet, can they solve this evil curse before more people are killed by the demonic spirit?

The Candy Witch

Now before we go into the review let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, there are a number of similarities with Candyman, the biggest being the Candy Witch’s hook-like weapon of choice; a sharpened candy cane (ingenious right?) And also a few other themes from popular culture (turning lights on/off which conceals/reveals the spirit for example) However, as mentioned previously, some of the best urban legends are a mishmash of horror tales. Whilst The Candy Witch adopts a number of these traits, it doesn’t lose its individuality in terms of storyline, location and unique delivery.

The movie itself starts out strongly. There’s a brief introduction to the turmoil of the O’Neil family, followed by a bit of a prelude which introduces ghost hunters Reece (Jon Callaway) and Kat (Abi Casson Thompson). The prelude in particular provides us with some great visual effects which sets the standard for the rest of the movie.

Liar

In terms of acting, The Candy Witch is comprised of a stellar cast who all bring a unique aspect to the movie. Admittedly, there are a few shaky performances here and there, but overall it was very good. Whilst Callaway plays a decent part he doesn’t really dominate the screen in a lead role, but he is supported by a convincing performance from Thompson. However, the accolade for acting performance has to go to The Candy Witch herself (Kate Lush). Whilst there isn’t a great deal of speech on her part, Lush brings the character to life through expression, mannerisms and good old fashioned jump scares (helped tremendously by the amazing cinematography)

The only critique I have is the number of Americanisms adopted throughout the movie. I get that the director is trying to appeal to the US market, but it feels to have sacrificed a level of authenticity in doing so, with the majority of the movie being set in Surrey, England. If some of these were dropped (as well as the questionable American accents that popped up every now and then…) I feel the movie would sell just as good, if not better. However, saying that, I completely understand the reasoning behind the ‘Candy’ Witch as the ‘Sweet’ Witch (as most Brits would call it) doesn’t have the same effect!

The Candy Witch

Overall though The Candy Witch is a fun, compelling splatterfest filled with inventive confectionary-related kills. I thought it was a great film and a great premise for an antagonist. I feel if there was extra work done to give the Candy Witch more of an initial, impactive scare, it could easily pave the way for a new horror icon.

From writer-director Rebecca J.Matthews (Pet Graveyard), and starring Kate Lush, Abi Casson Thompson, Heather Jackson and Richard D Myers, The Candy Witch serves up sweet death June 9 on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment. Check out the trailer below!

You can check out the IMDB link here

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Well it was only 2 days ago, after reviewing The Dinner Party. I was hyped over how versatile indepdent horror can be. Today I’ve come crashing down hard after being asked to watch/review 8 Graves. Unfortunately, it was a sobering reminder of just how cringe-worthy low budget horror flicks can be.

The storyline states; A college reunion in an old South Carolina house goes horribly wrong. Two vengeful spirits start to pick off the party goers one by one. The survivors have to choose whether to face up to their responsibilities or suffer the wrath of the ghosts.

Now, I know there are a number of restrictions that a lack of budget can bring; poor cgi, low quality camera/equipment, but poor acting doesn’t need to be one of them. The film opens with a title card stating “1865. The War Between The States Is Over. For Tens Of Thousands Now Without Sons, The Family Name Will Die. Unless a Male Child Can Be Found.” Okay, at this point I’m feeling it; nice opening, setting the scene. The filtered sequence gives it that old fashioned feeling That, as well as the dated garb of the couple on screen I’d say its a nice intro. Then the acting happens… oh dear.

Braxton Williams, Jennifer Olympia Bentley, and Andrea Catangay in 8 Graves (2020)

If that entire intro was cut then the film would be a lot better from the outset. But with the poor acting within the first 60 seconds the movie was a write-off before it even started. I’m pleased to say the acting did get slightly better in places and the storyline wasn’t too bad but it was still a massive let down. There was some believable interaction between the characters but the vast majority of the dialogue just felt awkward and corny with no authenticity at all.

Then there was the spirits. What on earth was going on there? I know I’ve mentioned the restrictions that a low budget can bring, but a good filmmaker should be aware of these. What they shouldn’t do is try to incorporate the basic resources they have into a movie which was already struggling. The spirits are depicted by a blue blur which is painful to watch. There is also a first person perspective adopted when the spirits are racing through the landscape which is a brazen knock off of The Evil Dead.

Overall, 8 Graves was a nice idea and the cinematography wasn’t too bad. Nothing special about the plot really but it could have been a lot better without the cringeworthy graphics. Some of the acting was better than others and I hope that the movie is just a learning curve for all involved. If anything, the trailer is probably the best bit. Check it out and decide for yourselves.

You can check out the IMDB page here

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