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Knock Knock! Who's There?


Kate Tsui in Knock Knock Who's There?

Chinese: 有客到
Year: 2015
Director: Carrie Ng Ka-Lai
Producer: Ng Kin-Hung
Writer: Carrie Ng Ka-Lai, Frankie Tam, Yip Ming-Ho

Annie Liu, Kate Tsui Tsz-Shan, Jennifer Tse Ting-Ting, Babyjohn Choi, Eric Kwok Wai-Leung, Carrie Ng Ka-Lai, Simon Lui Yu-Yeung, Venus Wong Man-Yik, Carlos Chan Ka-Lok, Tyson Chak Hoi-Tai, Heidi Li Jing-Yi, Nicola Tsang, Rebecca Zhu, Leung Kin-Ping, Anne Heung Hoi-Lan, Kasey Tang, Violet Li

The Skinny: Basically an update of the Troublesome Night formula, Knock Knock! Who’s There? features a decent variety of ghost tales if not the innovation or quality to make it essential. An OK Hong Kong horror film from director Carrie Ng that should serve a particular audience – just not a very big or discerning one.
by Kozo:

Releasing her second feature in less than a year (the first was Angel Whispers in early 2015), actress-turned-director Carrie Ng delivers a competent Hong Kong ghost film with Knock Knock! Who’s There? Not unexpectedly, the film doesn’t move the needle for Asian horror, but it’s got plenty of company because most current films in the genre don’t either. Knock Knock is a triptych of intertwined horror tales that share the same locations, characters and karmic themes – otherwise the three tales don’t really have that much to do with one another. Thanks to its structure and low-key scares, Knock Knock resembles an average entry in the Troublesome Night series, minus Herman Yau’s better-than-average direction.

Knock Knock! Who’s There? kicks off with “Missing”, the tale of Isabella (Annie Liu), who dies in a car accident after celebrating her engagement to the super-rich Harry (Carlos Chan). When one key body part goes missing, her soul wanders restlessly, but finds some solace in a reconnection with Roy (Babyjohn Choi), an ex-boyfriend who works at the funeral parlor that’s handling her unfortunately partial corpse. Isabella’s gruesome accident is dark and surprising but the segment itself is mostly warmed-over idol drama tropes, albeit using a real funeral parlor in Tai Kok Tsui as a setting. Acting is OK for the most part, but some plot threads are left hanging and the segment ends up more sappy than scary.

Segment two, titled “Karma”, involves mousy funeral goods salesgirl Shou Yung (Kate Tsui), who works for her screechy gambling-crazy aunt Ngor (Carrie Ng). With the help of her husband (Simon Lui), Ngor seals a live cat in a small coffin – a ritual that’s supposed to bring her luck – but Ngor uses a stray that Shou Yung was taking care of fondly. Bad move, Ngor. Pissed, Shou Yung seeks some measure of revenge, a process that involves possession and multiple instances of what could be termed as cat cosplay. “Karma” is given to more laughs than the other segments thanks to the cheesy performances and borderline-silly details, and director Ng sometimes gets needlessly stylish. The segment does end well, thanks to a fun and haunting riff on Chinese funeral rites.

The final story, “Smell”, is by far the darkest. Funeral make-up artist Yan (Jennifer Tse) is targeted by young ghost Mei-Mei (Nicola Tsang), but not for revenge. Instead, Mei-Mei uses video messages to ask Yan to “find” something for her, leading to an encounter with a butcher (Eric Kwok) who likes to chop up more than beef and pork. There’s potential for mucho gore in “Smell”, and Ng does what she can with the IIB rating. However, the horror is telegraphed so early that it doesn’t shock, and Yan’s willingness to follow a creepy long-haired stranger’s instructions borders on idiocy. While a welcome detour into darkness, “Smell” is just so-so, and has many popular Category III precursors (Dr. Lamb, Untold Story) that it could never hope to compare to.

Positives for Knock Knock! Who’s There, though minor, still exist. The film does a good job of presenting ghosts as more than just evil spectres, and the karmic details are sharp. The stories are intertwined entertainingly, with seeded details that reward those that pay attention. Attempts at emotion are less satisfying; Carrie Ng isn’t a strong enough director to really nail the drama, and dropped subplots and gratuitous scares only muddle the proceedings. Also: really bad visual effects, though production-wise the film is generally fine considering its budget. For a cheap update of the Troublesome Night formula, Knock Knock! Who’s There? has minor value and should serve a particular audience decently. Outside of that audience, it’d be best to knock on a different door. (Kozo, 3/2016)



DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Universe Entertainment (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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