A pre-teen girl with a horrible secret of violence can’t escape reliving the terror, no matter where she hides.
Co-written/directed by Mark L. Maness and Rob Winfrey, It Knows is a convoluted story about Claire, (Carmen Patterson) who after years of abuse by her father, Monroe (Dan Michael) , develops a schizophrenic condition that tears her family apart and ultimately ends up landing her in first, a psychiatric ward, and finally prison, after stabbing her family to death.
Production spent some money on some really great drone shots for the opening scenes. The movie looks well produced with some awkward shots sprinkled here and there that are indicative of a low budget movie being shot by a cinematographer who is also the writer and director and editor and producer and, and, and, ad nauseum. Being an independent filmmaker myself, I understand juggling that many hats with little to no money is a hard task and even though I can nit pick at some things, Maness does well shooting this film and shows his editing skills with a few shots that make it look as if Claire is trapped within her house by some sort of magic. I definitely took notes and plan on attempting to replicate that, so good job there.
The sound quality was also very good and the music was a lot better than what most low budget horror offers (if any at all) so props to Valyo Gennoff for the score (I’m sorry they didn’t credit you in their IMDB page).
The acting is the worst part of this movie and I don’t know who to blame for that because everybody was bad in their own way. Almost every single cast member, whether professional or not, was bland, uninteresting, unbelievable, and I didn’t really care about any of the main characters except feeling like I was forced to care about Claire because of her childhood. The credits suggest they hired a casting director, if so, they should never be trusted with that job again. The best actor in this film was “Stranded Brunette Girl”. She actually looked terrified in her scene and she has a great scream.
I’m actually going to blame Maness and Winfrey the most for the acting problems because I believe most of it was due to either not knowing how to direct actors or not caring enough about their film to get the best performance they could out of their talent. I was actually playing a game with myself during the movie to see if I could pinpoint what region of the country the actors were from because everybody (save Michael) kept slipping in and out of their accents which is solely the fault of the director(s).
Writer/directors really need to love their characters and understand everything about them to best help their talent produce the best version of the character they can. Relying solely on the talent of the actor is lazy directing, and produces such flat, bland, two dimensional characters as everybody in this film. The silver lining to this cast was Lauren Lasseigne who took the role of “Deadpan creepy child” and really made it her own. I did catch her trying not to laugh at Dan Michael in a couple scenes, but I’m not going to knock her for it because I was laughing at him the entire time too.
The story, as convoluted as it was, actually addresses (but fails to deal with) important and very scary subject matter. Mental illness and child abuse is abhorrent and can make for some very dramatic scenes and be a very strong vehicle for a psychological horror. Unfortunately, It Knows just fails to nail a bullseye and winds up delivering a poorly acted story complete with party city grim reaper robe and discount Ben Nye blood/zombie makeup for the “IT” which I’m still not sure represented Claire’s dark side or the burden of pain Claire had to carry with her throughout life which finally drove her insane. Either way, I was left mainly unaffected and disappointed that I just watched a film that relied on tropey characters, bland dialogue (nine uses of the word whore), and great looking marketing material.