New Movies

2021 Sundance Film Festival Review – Knocking

Knocking, 2021.

Directed by Frida Kempff.
Starring Cecilia Milocco, Krister Kern, Albin Grenholm, Ville Virtanen, and Alexander Salzberger.



A lady leaves a psychiatric ward after a nervous breakdown, solely to start out listening to mysterious knocking sounds in her house.


Frida Kempff’s characteristic debut Knocking boasts a premise positive to swiftly entice the eye of anybody who’s ever needed to endure by means of the muffled, repetitive thud of upstairs neighbours. If initially unsettling and brilliantly acted all through, the constraints of its modest setup nonetheless reveal themselves lengthy earlier than the 78-minute runtime is over.

Following the implied drowning demise of her companion Judith, a traumatised Molly (Sophie Desmarais) is taken to a psychological well being facility to recuperate. After being launched, she settles into a brand new house and focuses on transferring previous her tragic expertise, solely to start out listening to knocking noises on the ceiling of her bed room. Molly turns into obsessive about finding the supply of the noise, however when her upstairs neighbours can provide no perception, she begins to query her sanity.

This enticingly Kafkaesque setup lays the groundwork for a social-minded thriller targeted on a lady pressured to cope with quite a few doable realities; her psychological sickness has returned, she’s a sufferer of gaslighting from her neighbours who know greater than they’re letting on, or the knocking is of a supernatural persuasion.

An array of more and more disturbing sights implying untoward exercise upstairs do little to settle Molly’s thoughts, and to Kempff’s truthful credit score, she milks the paradox of the state of affairs for each drop. And for these questioning – sure, the movie does finish with a clear-cut reply.


Married to its robust premise, Knocking additionally advantages from loads of sharp camerawork, Kempff fixated on Desmarais’ face at nearly all instances, and at one level even fairly actually attaching a Snorricam to her head within the movie’s most technically bravura sequence.

The issue, then, is that Emma Broström’s script, adapting Johan Theorin’s 2016 novella, lacks the mandatory meat on its bones to hold the movie to even a scarcely feature-length runtime. The basic, emotional elements of what passes for a plot are so intriguing, but little try is made to maintain Molly’s investigation attention-grabbing and diverse, forward of a needlessly extended finale.

However Desmarais’ efficiency is an unmistakably robust anchor, sodden with grief-stricken ache as Molly is. Given that enormous parts of the movie are a one-woman present set in a single location, she has to promote a lot of the anxiousness and paranoia herself, portray a jolting image of a lady changing into more and more frazzled by regardless of the hell is happening and exasperated that no person will imagine her regardless.

With out understanding it was tailored from a novella, you couldn’t be faulted for assuming Knocking was prolonged from a previous brief movie, as a result of the setup feels so completely suited to that extra truncated format. And so whereas the payoff at the very least has the sense to play truthful with audiences slightly than experience unearned ambiguity, you won’t discover the result definitely worth the (admittedly still-brief) time invested in it.


An incredible brief movie idea distended out to characteristic size, Knocking’s circuitous storytelling turns into tiresome lengthy earlier than it’s throughout, regardless of a recreation effort from actress Sophie Desmarais.

Flickering Fantasy Score – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Film: ★ ★

Shaun Munro – Observe me on Twitter for extra movie rambling.

Supply through

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button