Director – Rich Rule (Khange tha Game, Marrtown )
Starring – James Quinn (Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies, The Dark Knight Rises), Brian Stowell (The Last Witch Hunter, Body Farm), and Maria Olsen (Failing Grace, Ravenwolf Towers)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 3/5
Tagline – “Evil shall be judged”
I’m originally from one of the poorest counties in the U.S. I didn’t seem like a rough place growing up but I realized just how bad it was when I left for college and I refused to go back once I graduated. McDowell County is known the world over for its high unemployment and drug use which is the topic of a documentary on Netflix. I don’t hate the state I live in just don’t want to return to the place I grew up.
I actually love West Virginia and believe that this one county gives the whole state a bad reputation that is does not deserve. The state is beautiful and full of so many underappreciated artists and creative thinkers. Sometime ago I befriended West Virginia filmmaker Rich Rule who was promoting his films No Knock List and Marrtown. Rich recently contacted me to review both these films and I couldn’t tell him no. Thank you Rich for sending these over!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows two escaped convicts who are on the run for some serious crimes. They decide to lay low for awhile stay in a wealthy boardinghouse where there is a rumor that the owner, Ms. Vangobels has hidden her fortune. What should be an easy score turns into much more with their souls now at stake.**Spoiler Alert**
I always get excited when I find a filmmaker from my great state. There is always a bit of an excitement knowing that there is other fans of the genre from a state that is mainly conservative. I had no idea what to expect when I tossed in No Knock List but I was surprised by how much I liked it. There was several things that I would have liked to see done differently but I really enjoyed the finished product.
The acting in this one is solid but the casting is questionable. The cast did a great job so that’s not what I meant. My problem with the cast is that some of the characters just don’t look the part. Everyone in this film is phenomenal. Maria Olsen steals the show in every scene she is in. She does a fantastic job and really brought the heat to this film.
I also enjoyed James Quinn and Brian Stowell’s performance but the casting of them seems a little off. These two are tremendous actors but having them play hardened criminals is a bit of a stretch. Stowell looks like a physical education teacher in public schools and I’m pretty sure James Quinn has an identical twin that sold me my Kia… which was a solid purchase if you ask me. I mean no disrespect to either gentleman. They both did a phenomenal job and worked fantastically together but the role of escaped prisoners just didn’t fit them that well.
The story for this one was pretty solid but does feel a bit boring when you put it to paper. There has been countless films following similar plots. In fact, it reminded me a lot of a segment in the horror anthology 10/31. However, what makes this one stand out is the entertaining characters that bring the story to life. With that being said, there was several things in the film that was a little goofy for a film with such a serious tone. The one that stands out the most is the demon voice near the end of the film from Maria Olsen. Her voice is dubbed over but the effect they are looking for does not work. Instead it comes off as silly and ruins the overall tone of the film.
Finally, the film does have a little blood but minimal effects. If you are wanting a bloody flick then you will want to go elsewhere. This film relies heavily on character development and story over special effects. Overall, No Knock List is a beautifully shot supernatural thriller with some enjoyable characters and a solid cast. There is a few times where Check it out.