July 3, 2000

Knocking on Death's Door (1999)



"Two paranormal scientists attempt to document the spirits which reside at Hillside House. They track down the murderer of a little boy, whose ghost is still alive. What they don't realize is that by discovering the murderer, they might be the next two humans to become ghosts."

I usually love ghostie films but it wasn't the best one I've ever seen. It's a bit old now too but I didn't bother watching it when it first came out. I'm cheap so I waited for it to turn up on telly instead.

It started well with two cops investigating a creepy looking house in the middle of a storm and with one of them getting a flying axe through the chest but then it jumped to 20 years later and it all started going horribly wrong.

Two newly-wedded paranormal scientists attempt to document the spirits which reside at "Hillside House". Why are ghosties always at Hillside House? "The House on Haunted Hill", "The Haunting of Hill House" etc., I see a pattern forming or a lack of imagination. The house also gets referred to as "The Somerset House" so maybe the writers realised and changed their minds.

Anyway, the couple discover that there are seemingly two ghosts in the house including the spirit of a boy who was killed years ago. This leads them to an investigation into his unsolved murder and all sorts of other nastiness starts to happen as what appears to be the murderer's ghost starts to attack them.

At the same time things go bad in the couple's relationship with the husband (Brian Bloom) getting increasingly more angry and jealous and the wife (Kimberly Rowe) getting pregnant and then more and more dopey and guilt ridden. David Carradine crops up briefly from time to time as their doctor who knows a lot more than he's letting on at first too.

Kimberly Rowe looks nice in it though the promise of a sex scene early on is quite short lived when a red hot poker goes flying through the air! It was a bit disappointing as the film needed something like that to spice it up a bit and it's not as if she hasn't done sex scenes in films before (especially the Emmanuelle series!). She even started to fiddle with herself later on and that was interrupted by the ghostie too. I felt so cheated! But it's all part of the storyline as the nasty ghostie only does stuff when it looks as if they are about to get it on because "he was the only one who didn't got laid in the house" when he was alive or something like that (You'll find out!!! If I told you more it would spoil the "surprise" ending for you!) and obviously he fancies Kimberly too!

It's not a bad little film otherwise. The ghostie effects are a bit sparse and clich├ęd but effective enough when they do happen. The ending is a bit of a confusing, contrived and rushed mess but it's certainly a film that's worth a look if you can't find anything else. Just about any of the Amityville series are more entertaining overall though.

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