With Halloween right around the corner you might be looking for a scary movie or two to help celebrate the holiday. There are many old favourites you could visit, or new North American releases to haunt you. But you may want to take a look overseas to Sweden. Knocking is the first feature length film by director Frida Kempff, and it might just keep you up at night.
Knocking tells the story of Molly (Cecilia Milocco), a patient at a mental institution who is finally ready to get her life back in order after suffering a traumatic loss. On the day of her release she moves into a small apartment where she gets to be alone with her grief and hopefully heal. Unfortunately that’s not meant to be. And shortly after arriving she starts to hear a knocking from the apartment above her, followed by cries for help. Molly investigates and asks the building superintendent as well as her neighbours, but all of them look at her as if she is crazy. The knocking continues however. It forces Molly to push beyond her meek persona so she can get to the truth of what’s going on.
There are all kinds of thrillers, some of which move a lot slower than others. Knocking is one of the slower ones. In fact it almost feels like it would be better off made as a short film instead of a feature length one (even though the film is well under an hour and a half long). As I say this, Cecilia Milocco gives it her all and draws you into the particular madness of her character.
Without Milocco’s solid performance, this one-woman show wouldn’t be scary or believable at all, but Cecilia keeps you interested and ensnared. The close-up shots throughout the film give you a sense of trapping you inside Molly’s mind with her. And this was a fascinating way of filming that mindset. The tension and emotions come out stronger that way. And you can even feel the doubt Molly feels as she starts asking questions. Is she or is she not descending even further into the madness that is engulfing her?
Knocking offers no easy answers, and even in the end you are left wondering what the truth is. It’s the type of film where everyone will have their own opinions as to what they just watched. And perhaps only the filmmaker and writer know the truth of the matter.