Review: “Doctor Who – Knock Knock” (TV Show Episode)

Well, it’s time to review the fourth episode in the new series of “Doctor Who”. Again, although I’m not sure how many of the new episodes I’ll end up reviewing or how long it will take me to review them. But, I’ll try to review as many as I can.

So, that said, let’s take a look at “Knock Knock”. Needless to say, this review will contain some SPOILERS.

The episode begins with Bill and several of her friends house hunting after they’ve had to move out of halls. However, as anyone who has ever been to university here will probably know, this isn’t as easy as it looks.

Surprisingly, they actually visit the estate agents’ though. I’m kind of surprised that their university doesn’t have a list of houses, or that they don’t use the internet to find one. Then again, neither of those things allow for a hilarious montage scene at the beginning of the episode…

After looking around a couple of unsuitable properties, they leave the estate agents’ in despair… when they are suddenly approached by a mysterious old man who offers them a surprisingly cheap deal on a creepy, creaking old mansion. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, apart from this, of course…

One of the first things that I will say about this episode is that I was surprised to see that it was set in the present day. Since the trailer last week included an old house and several interesting 1980s/90s-inspired costume designs, I was looking forward to an episode set in some of the coolest parts of the 20th century. But, no, the characters are modern people.

Set in the 80s or the 90s? Ha! What could have possibly given you THAT idea?

But, joking aside, one of the first things that I will say is that this episode is actually a surprisingly good horror episode. It contains a fairly good mixture of comedy, suspense, horror, tragedy and science fiction. Not to mention at least one slightly shocking and poignant plot twist too.

Ok, to seasoned fans of the horror genre, there’s nothing especially scary in this episode. But, even so, it’s still fun to see an episode set in a creepy old mansion with lots of dramatic lightning, rattling doors, a mysterious tower, no phone signal and constant ominous creaking sounds.

And, yes, the house doesn’t even have lampshades! The horror!

It kind of reminded me a little bit of the (genuinely scary) “The Grinning Man” episode of Jonathan Creek, not to mention classic horror/comedy films of the 80s (like “Elvira” and “Beetlejuice). Plus, the creepy old man who rents the house to the students is played by none other than David Suchet!

Ah, with Poirot on the case, this mystery will be solved in no… Ooops, wrong TV show! Still, it’s cool to see David Suchet on TV again 🙂

One interesting feature of this episode is that there is gradually less and less comedy as the episode progresses, which helps to add some tension. However, although the episode initially seems more like a haunted house story and then a story about sentient woodwork, the actual cause of the strange events in the house is … well… silly:

Yes, giant alien woodlice. Obviously. What else could it have been?

Even so, this silliness is offset somewhat by some even sillier scenes of people being devoured by swarms of woodlice. However, the story of why the alien woodlice are eating people is surprisingly poignant and tragic. As bizarrely contrived as it is, this part of the story will still send a shiver down your spine and possibly bring a tear to your eye. Yes, this episode includes some actual drama.

Still, this episode is a good mix of serious and silly. Each of these two things helps to prevent the other from getting too out of hand, and it’s also an absolute joy to see a classic horror-themed episode of “Doctor Who”. Not to mention that, before the silly “woodlice from space” plot twist appears, the idea of sentient wood is a genuinely innovative and creepy one that could have made the episode even creepier.

In terms of the characters and the acting, this episode is reasonably good. Although the bulk of the characterisation in the episode focuses on Bill, The Doctor, David Suchet’s character and another character called Eliza – the supporting cast put in a fairly good performance as what I imagine to be modern university students:

However, the lounge looks WAY too neat and tidy for a student house! Seriously, WHERE are the vodka bottles, the unwashed plates etc..? I hope university hasn’t got THIS boring within the past few years!

All in all, this is a reasonably good episode. Although it isn’t quite a perfect horror episode (mostly due to the silly decision to include woodlice from outer space), it’s still a surprisingly fun piece of retro-style horror comedy, with a few serious moments. It’s significantly better than last week’s episode and, best of all, the trailer for the next episode seems to include zombies… in space! Awesome!

If I had to give “Knock Knock” a rating out of five, it would probably get a four. It’s really good, but could have been better.

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6 comments on “Review: “Doctor Who – Knock Knock” (TV Show Episode)

  1. babbitman says:

    I enjoyed this episode, it being rather well-timed with us scouring Chester for suitable accommodation for our youngest daughter who’s off to uni there in September! And full marks for including a properly diverse cast – so few programmes ever consider casting a Brummie! Treating the character as perfectly normal and not some kind of thick comedy role was also a welcome treat. (For the record I’m a Coventrian who used to have subtle West Midlands tones – which become less subtle when in contact with other central midlanders).

    • pekoeblaze says:

      Ah, I can see how it would be more relevant (it kind of reminds me of trying to find accomodation within the space of about 2-3 weeks when I was in Aberystwyth).

      But, thinking about it, it’s kind of strange that there aren’t that many characters from Birmingham on the TV. Although I remember reading an article about a show called “Peaky Blinders” (which I haven’t seen) which pointed out that it’s apparently kind of difficult for many actors who aren’t from Birmingham to get the accent right or something like that.

      [Edit: Although, being more cynical, I suppose it would also be more accurate to say that characters from outside London are relatively rare in TV shows. I mean, before this current series of “Doctor Who”, virtually every episode set in Britain seemed to take place in London. Not to mention that I’ve never really seen a fictional character from Portsmouth on TV either. So, yeah, it might just be a London-centric thing or something like that.]

      Cool. Although I’m from Hampshire (and probably have a fairly southern accent, although I don’t really notice it much), some of my relatives either are or were from Staffordshire – although, surprisingly, I can only think of one member of my extended family who actually has a midlands accent though.

      • babbitman says:

        Geordie, Scouser & ‘generic Northern’ all get reasonable coverage to counter London & SE bias. But the Midlands, East Anglia & South West are generally ignored!

      • pekoeblaze says:

        Yeah, it’s kind of puzzling – not to mention unfair too. I also didn’t realise that East Anglia and the South West were also ignored too. Seriously, how can they ignore about a third of the country? [Edit: Geography really isn’t my strong point, so I’m not sure if this is technically a third of England (in terms of area) or whether it’s closer to half or a quarter, but it’s still a fairly large part of the country .]

      • babbitman says:

        I think certain accents have a certain cachet & coolness; Brummie & ‘traditional country yokel’ don’t & so are only used for comedy effect when we do hear them.

      • pekoeblaze says:

        Ah, I didn’t really think of that. But, yeah, it’s strange how these accents are only seen this way by people in the media (I mean, some other accents, like “posh” received pronunciation can either be used seriously or for comedy etc… [Edit: So, I don’t see why it should be any different for Brummie, West Country etc.. accents]).

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