Knocking parents guide

Knocking Parent Guide

The problem with this film is that it's a thriller without any thrills.

Overall D

CIFF: In this suspense thriller, a woman with a history of mental illness starts hearing noises.

Release date September 23, 2021

Violence C
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is Knocking rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated Knocking Not Rated

Run Time: 78 minutes

Parent Movie Review

After spending a year in a secure mental health ward, Molly (Cecilia Milocco) is being released. Her new apartment may not be much, but it’s better than the hospital. Until, that is, a persistent knocking noise from upstairs starts to keep Molly awake. She tries to find the source of the sound but none of the upstairs neighbors have heard it and nobody will admit to being the cause of the sound. As the knocking continues, Molly’s mental stability frays, and her past starts to catch up with her…

Throughout the film, the viewer can see firsthand the effects of Molly’s deterioration. She has hallucinations, difficulty focusing, lost time – all of which the audience deals with in the form of confusing scenes and abrupt cuts. While this certainly creates sympathy for Molly’s plight, it also makes for a very awkward film to watch. It’s frequently unclear what’s happening, but in some cases it’s also unclear why it would matter. The story isn’t clear enough to support a narrative device like this, and the result is a very muddled viewing experience.

The other problem is that, in most of these scenes, functionally nothing is happening. While a simple, unsurprising life is an achievement for Molly, it is marginally less exciting than watching grass grow. And unfortunately, not much actually happens until the last twenty minutes of the film. The rest of the time, it’s Molly having a cigarette, or buying some fruit, or lying in bed watching videos on her phone – all of which are very normal things to do, but none of which give this thriller much thrill.

Of course, a lack of action also means a lack of content concerns. There’s very little violence, and hardly any sexual content to speak of, which is particularly surprising given that European films are famously matter-of-fact about sex and nudity. There are some sexual expletives, almost all of which occur when one of the characters starts waving a bayonet around in someone else’s apartment, which I consider to be just cause for some forceful language. Of course, that doesn’t make it any more appropriate for children and neither does Molly’s smoking or tendency to drink more than she should.

There are some upsides to this Swedish suspense film, Milocco’s performance as Molly being the biggest one, but they fail to counterbalance the tedium of most of the film. The movie is only 78 minutes long, and I still found myself rewinding to read subtitles I’d been too zoned out to notice. If you can’t hold an audience for little over an hour, you’ve got some major problems. Not quite as many as Molly, but more than enough to dissuade viewers from investing their time in this story.

Directed by Frida Kempff. Starring Cecilia Milocco, Albin Grenholm, Ville Virtanen. Running time: 78 minutes. Theatrical release September 23, 2021. Updated

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Rating & Content Info

Why is Knocking rated Not Rated? Knocking is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence: A dead bird is seen. A character hallucinates a person committing suicide by jumping off a building and blood dripping from the ceiling. An individual is shown receiving CPR.
Sexual Content: Characters are seen from the shoulders up in the bath or while getting changed.
Profanity: There are five extreme profanities, one scatological curse, and infrequent use of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen smoking tobacco and drinking, sometimes to excess.

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Other thrillers with a psychologically vulnerable protagonist include The Woman in the Window, The Girl on the Train, Fear of Rain, Shutter Island, and Tully. Inarguably, the best “spying on the neighbours” movie is Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece Rear Window. Horror options with a similar premise include The Invisible Man, The Night House, and The Lodge.