Saturday, February 24, 2024

Madness knocks at the door, the review: terror within the four walls of the home

Madness knocks at the door, the review: terror within the four walls of the home

The review of Madness Knocks at the Door, a film where the protagonist and her daughter are taken hostage by a gang of criminals, ready to do anything to get away with it. Tonight on Rai2 and available on RaiPlay.

Madness knocks at the door, the review: terror within the four walls of the home

Susan Daniels, recently widowed, works as a real estate agent in the same neighborhood where she lives, in a beautiful house, with her teenage daughter Heather. She is a house that the woman now intends to sell, so much so as to show it to potential buyers: for that very reason one evening she lets the couple formed by Natalie and Keith into the house, who declare themselves interested in viewing the property for a potential purchase. However, Susan doesn’t know that the two are not who they claim to be…

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Madness Knocks at the Door: a scene from the film

As we tell you in review of Madness Knocks at the Door, the fake buyers are in fact criminals, guilty of several robberies in the neighborhood in the last period. Keith is wounded in the side and needs a place to rest and take refuge, as the police are on their trail. Susan initially hides her presence in her daughter Heather’s house, but it is soon discovered and now both are hostage at the mercy of the two criminals. The protagonist will do everything to save what remains of her family, for a night destined to mark their future forever.

I’ve seen this before

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Madness Knocks at the Door: a scene from the film

The classic prologue – actually narrating events already ahead of the narrative time – in which a young woman runs desperately, fleeing from a potential danger, makes us immediately understand the type of operation we are faced with, that is, those thrillers for the domestic market which we have often talked about recently on these pages. And the sudden change of setting and tones, with the reassuring quiet of the four walls and a piece of music from Sunday afternoon suspensefollows an equally consolidated pattern, effectively introducing the main characters of the – scant – hour and a half of viewing.
Madness knocks at the door moreover, it follows canonical guidelines, even if here more than on other occasions typical dynamics remain home invasionor here films where a family or homeowners are targeted by criminals.

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Basic banality

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Madness Knocks at the Door: a scene from the film

But of directors such as William Wyler or Michael Cimino – who had respectively signed the 1955 and 1990 versions of a great cult of the genre such as Desperate hours – few are born, and the unknown David Benullo, moreover making his debut in a feature film, does not know how to manage the tense phases or even the management of the spaces, ending up making the context a simple theater for assorted skirmishes between the good and the villains, complete with a figure in the balance who, not surprisingly, will then determine the final fate of the story. Here too obviously coincidences and oversights are wasted, or otherwise the story would have ended within ten minutes with the arrest of the villains: just think of when the daughter trivially forgets the phone while it was charging on the sofa, in one of the key moments that could have allowed a saving call for help . Not new ingenuity, but which here are even more evident given the thinness of the general plot.

tell me who you are

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Madness Knocks at the Door: a scene from the film

Between psychological inserts with which the protagonist tries to cloud the criminal intentions of the two kidnappers, plot twists whether phoned in or not – between auspicious pregnancies and unexpected visits – people who appear at random only to eliminate themselves in an idiotic way and a final showdown complete with a stalemate that pursues the path of the improbable, Madness knocks at the door it shows a mediocre and botched productionwhere the solutions from “cat and mouse game” are exploited without inventiveness and on widely pre-established steps, effectively denying the hypothetical uncertainty about the fate of the characters.
Jennifer Taylor leads an anonymous cast, where the very bad blonde “stands out” in the general apathy Emily Sweetalready seen in an episode of the anthology V/H/S/99 (2022), but none of the performers are remembered and are simply accessory to the schematic nature of a plot that offers nothing new and/or interesting.


Mother and daughter find themselves imprisoned in their own home when two criminals, who had recently carried out several robberies in the area, enter by deception and kidnap them: a night that will turn into a nightmare, where only cunning and a a bit of luck can help them escape unscathed. As we told you in the review of Madness Knocks at the Door, this umpteenth thriller designed for television follows some key rules of the relevant sector as regards the cold and lifeless staging, here accentuated on home invasion dynamics that do not captivate never the tension necessary to conquer the audience. Eighty minutes of boredom, between forced plot twists and brisk psychology here and there, with the challenge between good and bad guys tinged with botched if not unintentionally ridiculous notes.

Because we like it

  • The dynamics of home invasion always have a potentially captivating charm…

What’s wrong

  • … but here the script and staging nip every idea in the bud.
  • A largely anonymous cast.
  • Several absurd and/or forced passages.