If you’re wondering “When did Knock Knock come out?”, you’re not alone. Produced in 2006, the original Knock Knock is an interesting artifact of post-Saw/pre-Grindhouse horror. In a lot of ways, Knock Knock is a throwback to cheap 80s slasher films, only with that obnoxious jump-cut/strobe editing that the Saw films popularized in the mid-2000s. “Interesting” doesn’t necessarily mean “good,” but Knock Knock is at least an amusing curiosity. It also has absolutely no tie to Knock Knock 2, a “found footage” horror film originally titled 1666 and picked up by Lionsgate for distribution and retitled, presumably to take advantage of the Knock Knock franchise’s popularity. Which may or may not be almost entirely nonexistent.
Aiden (Aiden Cardei) and his girlfriend Jordan (Jordan Elizabeth) get engaged, and then Jordan and her best friend Stephanie (Stephanie Lovie) decide to take Aiden and Stephanie’s boyfriend Beckett (Beckett West) out on a tour of famous murder sites around the Los Angeles area. They drive around, make a lot of noise and annoy a lot of people who live in the infamous spots, and finally end up at “1666,” a house with a particularly unpleasant history. They manage to get into the house, but quickly panic when they discover they are trapped inside. A 911 call that plays at the start of the film informs the audience that Aiden is the last one to die, leaving the order of his friends’ deaths the only question in the last act of the film. This is literally everything that happens in the course of the film, other than the opening title and the end credits sequence. Thanks for coming out, everybody!
Knock Knock 2 is easily one of the worst, laziest “found footage” horror films to come down the pike yet, which is saying quite a bit. Early in the film, Aiden puts his camera down and points it at a section of wall and a toaster, then stands around talking to Beckett just off the right edge of the screen, leaving the audience to stare at that toaster for over a minute. Occasionally an elbow will poke into the frame from the right side to remind us that if the camera were pointed about 5 more degrees in that direction, we would be able to see the characters. Later, when Jordan and Stephanie are researching and pitching their murder tour, Jordan uses the exact same wording in three different scenes to describe the condition of the body of the Black Dahlia when it was discovered. Apparently since there was no budget for makeup or special effects, the characters keep shoving pictures into the camera of Elizabeth Short’s actual corpse, presumably to remind the audience that this is supposed to be a horror movie and not just a document of a particularly boring evening in Los Angeles.
So how did this film come to be known as Knock Knock 2? Well, there’s another long static shot late in the film where the camera is sitting on the floor and pointed at a wall, and for what seems like two entire minutes, we hear the sound of someone or something repeatedly knocking something on the floor, or the wall, or something. Presumably this is meant to build up suspense, but instead (like most of the film) it’s just irritating. It’s not hard to imagine a marketing department meeting where someone brings up that part and says “this could totally be the new Knock Knock movie!” And so it is. It’s honestly kind of amazing that a studio as big as Lionsgate would put out something this cheap, but in that way perhaps Knock Knock 2 is more like the first film that it originally seems: it’s another instantly dated artifact of a time when even a good-sized studio would go to the trouble of releasing a “found footage” cheapie on physical media.
Lionsgate released Knock Knock 2 on DVD on 7 August 2012. Special features include an interview with cast and crew and trailer gallery.