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Knocking (Sundance 2021); Grade: B

Strictly Films welcomes you to more coverage of this years Sundance Film Festival!!! Our next film on the block: Knocking.

Knocking tells a story about a woman named Molly (Cecilia Milocco), who has left the psych ward hoping to have a fresh new start in her new life in her own apartment complex. Unfortunately for Molly that fresh new start will be encountered by similar problems she had in the ward, as she's experiencing a knocking sound from her ceiling. The knocking sounds in morse code translates to a woman needing help, but also Molly hears cries for help from upstairs. Every single time Molly receives help from the police or partakes in discovering what is going on... Everything is pretty normal, as the only thing that needs help is Molly herself. So is there really someone knocking from upstairs that needs help, or is Molly just crazy?

The Cinematography was splendid, this film is well shot and has many unforgettable shots as well. Including shots from outside the building featuring other people, the interior design of the building itself, shots where the color pallet pop out at you.. Very nice from a visual standpoint. The Score was solid as well, enjoyed the dark and eerie composed score this film has to offer. The cast all in all was solid as a whole. Cecilia Milocco was easily the best part of this entire film, as her performance was excellent. How she plays this character in which has a history of mental health issues, that can seem believable yet at the same time a bit crazy was done perfectly well, as it didn't come off cartoonish at all.

I do have problems with Knocking. Some pacing issues here and there that makes the film rather slow, despite it's short run time. There's also some sequences that didn't quite add up to what is going on in the story, that felt extremely random and wasn't necessarily to put in to begin with. You also have tone issues as well, where one minute it feels like a deep thought revoking film about a significant other never leaves your mind as she always keeps on knocking regarding your memory. Then you have a dark drama dealing with psychological elements... I just wish this film didn't try to mesh both tones, as you can potentially have a much rather confusing film.

Knocking in some ways reminds me of Dark Water, where there is an unknown wet stain on the ceiling, as it's much a deeper narrative than it being a straight up horror film. Difference between both films is I actually liked Knocking. When the narrative focuses solely on the physiological elements, it's a honestly a much more engaging watch as you're trying to puzzle in Molly's mind. You keep on questioning yourself is she sane or is she insane, as no one believes her or can find anything comparable to danger as Molly claims there is danger to be. I also enjoyed the ending in this film, as it brings on many questions of what exactly does this film mean or what exactly went on regarding the narrative?! That be troublesome to some audience as they don't enjoy thinking too much, however I enjoy films that make you think so this was indeed a treat for me.

Overall, Knocking was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out. -Mitch Smietana

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