An effective, if minimal take on the aftershocks of trauma.

Synopsis: A woman leaves a psychiatric ward after a nervous breakdown, only to start hearing mysterious knocking sounds in her apartment.

Cecilia Milocco makes for a fascinating focus in this curious, claustrophobic analysis of a woman recovering from trauma. Milocco stars as Molly, recently released from a ward to return home, still carrying the weight of a great loss. As she is left to heal, a desperation for connection drives her to a hyper focus on a knocking she hears from her flat. The camera spends much of the time affixed to her, bringing her face front and centre as she navigates her troubling experience. It is an intimate, often discombobulating way of following the action that enhances it.

Even running at under one hour and twenty minutes, there is a sense that this would suit a short film format just as well. That isn’t to say it isn’t diverting enough for a feature, but it does rely on repetition and a cyclical exploration of Molly’s state of mind. After a few instances, there is no further meaning to be added, slipping to a climax that is clever in its minimalistic execution, but feels like it is taken from a very different film.

As is to be expected from a film that places a focus on sound, the design here is good, throwing you into the same space as Molly and forcing you to tune into every sound. The soundtrack plucks during the most frayed moments, selling Molly’s fragility. In addition to the focus on sound there is an increasing sense of the palpable heat in the room, adding to the delirium that she experiences. The time she spends outside of her flat is similarly fraught, reaching out to people who respond to her with disinterest, despite her clear desperation to connect. As her paranoia progresses, people transform to openly hostile towards her.

Memories are treated as a film in their own right, hazily shot and carefully obscuring the exact details, as if too painful to recall in full detail. She becomes a spectator in her own life, replaying the events in a self-imposed punishment. Molly’s surroundings taunt her enough to throw the intrusions back into her head space, constantly pausing her from moving forward. Repeated bird motifs throughout the film serve as reminders of freedom, imprisonment and the ability to move on from the past.

A curious film, big on technical style and flair but with a story that can’t quite support itself, resulting in a conclusion that feels horrific, but under serves what has gone before it.

3 out of 5 stars

3 out of 5 stars

FrightFest Presents and Signature Entertainment present Knocking at FrightFest 29th August and on Digital Platforms 15th November

Author: ScaredSheepless

Film and television fan, with a particular love for horror.

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