My History With the Film:
I wasn’t planning on reviewing this film so quickly, but it’s been out over a week and I haven’t seen a single person talking about it. For a film starring Bill Moseley, Danielle Harris, Robert Englund, and a fantastic cast of young actors directed by Dwight H. Little, the guy who brought us Halloween 4 I expected a bit more fanfare. But it’s not a sequel of an established franchise, nor does it try to tell an “elevated” message, so it’s been overlooked. No doubt, the on going actors strike has also hurt the film’s release since none of the cast are promoting the film and the marketing for the film has been almost non-existent.
Natty Knocks is not an overly original film. It’s not the type of film to blow your mind or make you run out and tell everyone you know how great it is, but it’s a solid film. It’s a nice little horror film that tells a decent story and has a wonderful cast. Last weekend, I decided to go ahead and purchase the film since it was just $12 on VOD vs. $7 for renting and I don’t regret my purchase. It’s definitely a film I’ll revisit down the road.
What the Film is About: (Non-Spoiler)
The true story behind a local urban legend has come to haunt the town after a group of kids see something they shouldn’t have.
What I Liked About It:
-This film is beautiful. It’s filmed in a way that I never expected a low budget picture to be filmed. It feels real and lived in, and reminds of the original Halloween at times. I don’t typically take notice of great cinematography in horror films (let’s be honest, a lot of the time it’s not great) but this film is an exception.
-The horror icons Danielle Harris, Robert Englund, and Bill Moseley (along with the director Dwight H. Little) are what made me watch this film, but its the young cast that ends up stealing the show.
Charlotte Fountain-Jardim is stunning in her role as the babysitter who has a striking resemblance to a young Danielle Harris. It’s so similar at first I thought she was portraying her daughter.
Thomas Robie (Wyatt) plays the good kid who is in a bad situation. The messy divorce of his parents is on display in this film and his conflict of dealing with it and trying to be a normal teenager shows up in the performance.
Noe Perez (Robby) is at times a bit of comic relief, but he does a great job at being the bad influence. I think we all grew up with a guy like this, who deep down is a decent guy, but is always looking to make a buck or sneak off and smoke cigarettes.
Channah Zeitung (Jolie) is the young sister, who in many lesser horror movies would be portrayed as innocent and annoying. Not so much in this film. She’s young and obviously dealing with some trauma from the situation they stumble upon but it’s all believable and you feel true sympathy for her character.
I normally don’t talk his much about the cast, but I truly enjoyed their performances and it made the film for me.
-The story itself is solid enough. At times you get a bit of a Stephen King vibe from it, and I say that in a good way. The opening scene is a bit confusing and I’m not sure it’s effective, but once the movie starts rolling it doesn’t let up.
-I’m glad they didn’t lean into the urban legend too hard, especially since it’s so similar to Bloody Mary/Candyman. With that being said, naming the movie Natty Knocks and cutting the trailer the way they did, it doesn’t really give an accurate description of what is to come. Even the IMDB description isn’t truly accurate.
-I’m impressed with the film’s ability to create that 90’s feel of the unknown. I love the idea of an urban legend that still exists and is celebrated, but the truth isn’t widely known. The script doesn’t try to over complicate things, and I think that is what worked to it’s advantage. It tells a solid story beginning to end.
-I’ll be honest, I’m not a Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 fan nor am I much of a fan of Rob Zombie’s films, so while I respect Bill Moseley’s work, I wouldn’t say I’m a fan. But he puts on a truly disturbing performance in this film and since he has the most screentime of the three horror icons I couldn’t help but see what makes him so special.
-I’m also a sucker for a movie with a Halloween theme, and while it isn’t vital to the story, nor is the set overly dressed, it’s always nice to see.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
Natty Knocks is fun. The last couple of years I haven’t been thrilled with a lot of new horror releases but Natty Knocks scratched the itch for the type of horror I enjoy. It straddles the line between supernatural and real-life while telling a simple story that isn’t bogged down by big ideas or too much CGI.
It’s well directed, has nice cinematography and great performances all around. I have a feeling this movie is going to slip under the radar for a lot of folks, and that’s a shame because I’d like to see more movies like it.
I give it four bloody knives and say give it a watch.