With a runtime of under 80 minutes and a tightly knit story. “KNOCKING” delivers on so many levels and in ways the audience would not expect going into this
“KNOCKING” is labeled as a “thriller” movie from Sweden, but it plays out more like a psychological horror movie and the movie opts for the slow-burn approach to its storytelling but never feels too slow or boring at all. Based on a novel by Johan Theorin, “Knocking” marks the feature film directorial debut of Frida Kempff. Kempff borrows many familiar tropes of horror filmmaking and blends them well with the story at hand, which is very plain and simple.
“Knocking” follows a woman who has left a psychiatric ward, starts having a nervous breakdown, later arrives in her new apartment, and immediately starts hearing all of these strange knocking sounds. Is somebody trapped? Is it a morse code? Does our main protagonist needs help and needs to be in a psychiatric ward? All questions whose answers push the narrative forward.
On paper, the story feels like a variation of many horror stories that we have seen before. But the treatment from Frida Kempff and cinematographer Hannes Krantz makes all the difference. Cecilia Milocco plays Molly, our main character. She is the central figure we see throughout the film and she carries the entire film on her shoulders, delivering an excellent performance. Milocco often makes viewers feel sorry for Molly, even if most of them have no prior experience with this kind of situation at hand. The film is set in Sweden, but the fascinating character study it brings along with it can be applicable to most countries in the world. Especially with how society treats the mentally ill.
All in all, “KNOCKING” isn’t an easy and comfortable popcorn film. The movie holds your attention and hides many of the answers you might have up until the very last minute. While some answers are not so direct and some questions do go unanswered, it’s all left up to the audience to draw up any conclusions in their minds. “KNOCKING” screened at Fantastic Fest, and was released in select theatres this past weekend (10/8) and will be available on video-on-demand on October 19, 2021.
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