Based on found footage, the story centers on four friends in their early 20s. Last year, on the night before Halloween, they decided to go on a self made tour of famous Hollywood murders and celebrity haunted houses. The tour led them to a house known as 1666. They have been missing ever since
Love it or hate it, it seems the found footage sub-genre is here to stay. Knock Knock 2, which originally was titled 1666, is an obvious attempt to cash in on the resurgence in popularity that found footage films have enjoyed the last few years since the release of Paranormal Activity. It is interesting that the film was retitled as a sequel to a bland and uninspired slasher film about a killer stalking a group of high school students that apparently must have achieved more success than originally assumed. Simply stated, this sequel has absolutely nothing to do with the original Knock Knock.
Aidan, Jordan, Beckett, and Stephanie are four twenty-something friends who decide to take a tour of some of Hollywood’s most famous murder sites and haunted locations. Their planned stops include the field where the Black Dahlia’s body was discovered, the apartment where ex-Playboy Centerfold Dorothy Stratten was brutally murdered, and the location where George Reeves committed suicide. Their last stop is an abandoned home known as 1666 where years earlier a man supposedly became possessed and cut his baby from his wife’s stomach before killing himself.
Of course, they bring their camcorder along to film the adventure. Writer and director Chris Sheng certainly did his homework regarding the structure and pacing of some of the more successful found footage films; a slow, deliberate pacing leading to a frenzied, terrifying climax as illustrated in The Blair Witch Project and more recently, Atrocious. Knock Knock 2 definitely has the slow pacing down, but Sheng forgot to a suitable climax. Instead, this is a film where literally nothing happens for the entire running time. While the actors are all likable, they are given nothing of interest to do except ride in a car, talk, stop at one of their destinations, get out of the car for a few seconds, get back into the car, and repeat. This literally goes on for an hour before the group even arrives at the 1666 home (keep in mind the film’s running time is only 80 minutes).
There are no moments of suspense scattered here and there necessary to keep the viewer engaged and on the edge of their seat; there is no sense of dread or ominous tone; and there is no interesting or mysterious back story to ponder. These are must haves in order for a found footage film to be successful. When the group finally does arrive at the home, there is a somewhat interesting reversal of roles as the girls are the ones wanting to explore the creepy house while guys whine like elementary aged girls. And like the rest of the film, this scene goes on for way too long and becomes tedious. Worse yet, once trapped inside, the film slips even farther down the “this is pretty tedious and ridiculous” scale. Some creepy noises and a missing person literally is the big, frenzied, terrifying climax of this film. To say it is tame and unsatisfying is a major understatement. In the end, it begs the question: what was the point? Instead of being creepy and atmospheric like it certainly had the potential to be, this plays out like an after school G-rated attempt at the genre that one would see after an episode of Sesame Street.
It is a shame that the film turned out to be such a miss because the premise is interesting enough and again, the actors were doing their best with what they had to work with. However, the execution is lacking and makes the film completely pointless with no payoff whatsoever. And what Knock Knock 2 does prove is that not anyone can pick up a camera and make a found footage film. It is not “easy.” There is a definite art to creating an effective one and would-be filmmakers should take a clue from this film: a camera and creepy house do nothing without a clear vision and respect for the audience.
Knock Knock 2 (2011)