After enduring the tragic loss of her girlfriend and a stay at a psychiatric hospital, Molly (Cecilia Milocco) is thrust back into the world. Attempting to put the pieces of her life back together, she tries her best to make her new apartment a sanctuary, an escape from the harshness of her changed reality. But her efforts are thwarted by a loud, consistent knocking coming from the apartment above her. The strange thing is, no one else can hear the noises, and her increasingly frantic pleas to her neighbors and the local police for assistance are ignored. Molly is convinced someone is trapped and needs her help, and she will stop at nothing until she’s found the source of all the noise.
Director Frida Kempff doesn’t rely on empty horror cliches in her first narrative feature, but instead has crafted a tense psychological thriller that thoughtfully explores the nature of who is believed and who is dismissed in our society. Molly is surrounded entirely by men who write her off and gaslight her, and the film is a powerful reflection of the horrors of being silenced and ignored simply because of who you are. Milocco is a tour de force as Molly, carrying every scene with her impressively realistic and increasingly erratic portrayal of a woman on the edge. KNOCKING is a can’t-miss debut for fans of smart horror that delivers on both meaning and scares. (LISA DREYER)