• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Someone’s Knocking At The Door

TITLE: Someone’s Knocking At The Door

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Horror

One of the greatest aspects of independent cinema is that the financial expectations are a bit lower and the film makers are allowed to be more creative in their storytelling. Not having to financially please a bunch of investors helps relieve stress from the director and screenwriters so that the creative juices can flow and as a result create a movie that is unique and challenges the boundaries of its genre. This is especially true in horror, where independent films are normal fare and there is a vast market looking for films that are not as stale as the Hollywood offerings. Films such as American Psycho, May, and Bubba Ho-Tep have all helped to stretch the limitations of the horror genre and create new and fresh products that fans are still devouring years after their releases. One recent film that attempts to be one of those remembered creative ventures would be Someone’s Knocking At The Door, and although the movie is a valiant effort it does fall short in its efforts to be an imaginative force in independent horror.

A group of medical school students stumble upon the file of John (played by Ezra Buzzington) and Wilma Hopper (Elina Madison), two sexual psychopaths who were experimented on at their university back in 1973. The students, always looking for a good time away from the hardships of medical internships, discover the experimental drug within the file and decide that the almost forty-year-old concoction might create a great high. After shooting up, the group starts to experience hallucinations and other mind altering effects at the worst possible time. Just their luck, the Hoppers are back in the saddle again and are back to extract revenge against the school and the students who have read their medical files. How much of this is real, and will the students survive their encounter with the Hoppers?

Someone’s Knocking At The Door is a pretty well made film in terms of the technical aspects such as above average cinematography, good lighting, and acceptable changes in camera angles throughout the film. The story itself, sort of a nod to the classic Ambrose Bierce short story “An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge” (don’t know it? Read it!), is the problem as the dreamy, surreal storyline gets bogged down. The entire approach of Someone’s Knocking At The Door is way too art house for the storyline: the slow motion approach to the funeral complete with majestic music feels too much like a Tarantino rip-off; the static and beep sounds in the flashback scenes sound more like defects in editing than intentional additions, and the scene with naked Annie (Sylvia Stress) complete with a dildo strap attached to her hip displays more of an X-rated purpose rather than the allegorical meaning that was intended. One scene that did work rather well was at the party when stuttering Joe (Ricardo Gray) is wearing a clown suit and molesting an unconscious female was bizarre yet displayed the lunacy of the students’ lifestyles effectively. It is easy enough to see director Chad Ferrin’s (who graduated to directing his own features after being a production assistant on Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers and Hellraiser: Bloodline) intentions and artistic direction, but Someone’s Knocking At The Door drags way too long for most viewers to stick around for a fairly good twist ending; for example, a police interrogation scene literally lasts for a third of the movie and is way too long and dry for most viewers.

Ferrin was once an intern with Troma Studios and worked as a camera assistant on Tales From The Crapper; like many of Roger Corman’s protégés, Ferrin did put an homage to Lloyd Kaufman in this film by having a person at the before mentioned party wear a Toxic Avenger mask. There are some great ideas in Someone’s Knocking At The Door and the project had some potential to be one of the great independent horror films of the past dozen years but ended up getting crushed under its own weight. When the film finally starts making sense in the last ten minutes about 95% of the more immature viewers will have moved on to other movies, and Perrin does need to work on keeping the viewer engaged until the climax. I plan on keeping an eye on future projects of Perrin and have added what I could find to my Netflix queue, and I am hoping that the ideas in those films are better displayed than in Someone’s Knocking At The Door. As the old saying goes, “close, but no cigar.”

* *

–Mark

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