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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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:
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:
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.