Drug fuelled mayhem on celluloid has come a long way since the propaganda of Reefer Madness, yet it still remains the hallmark of teenage rebellion. As the opening title frames of SOMEONE'S KNOCKING AT THE DOOR suggest, this movie is a tale of innocence lost going a bit too far. We are treated to a collage of retro narcotic indulgence intercut with childhood memories, playing against a backdrop that rains pills, syringes and other assorted substances. It proves to be an intriguing start to provocatively entertaining picture.

The story itself begins at an intense pace. Ray is just about to indulge in a quiet night in with a delicious warm syringe of heroin when a knock on the door infuriatingly interrupts him. But his annoyance soon evaporates when he is confronted by a lusty fully nude female at his front door, who rather forcefully, informs him she wants to "fuck him till he dies". His lucky night soon turns into a nightmare when the salacious young lady transforms into a hideous male beast and .. erm� fucks Ray till he's dead!!

When Ray's friends and fellow students (Joe, Justin, Meg and Sebastian) at the medical university find out about his death, panic ensues. Accusations fly within the dysfunctional group of friends and when they are interviewed by the police, the story really takes off. It would appear that the five friends spent their Saturday night experimenting with an enigmatic medical drug, Taldon, while reading the case files, and listening to the audio interviews, of America's most bizarre murdering couple - John and Wilma Hopper. It transpires that the Hoppers were used as medical guinea pigs after their incarceration with the very drug the youngsters are flirting with.

Over the next few days, flashbacks and paranoia start play havoc with the group's minds, before some hideous violence starts to pick the group off. It would appear that the Hoppers are back from the 1970's to seek revenge for being exploited at that very med school. But when hallucinogenic substances are involved, is it really as simple as this�.?

The use of drugs are pivotal in the plot, and some creative camera work convincingly brings home the feeling of have your senses spun into a flux with a chemically induced high. In some scenes it's merely a subtle dreamlike alteration to sound. In others, some truly chaotic camerawork risks making the viewer feel a little nauseous such is its execution. The result is the frenzied quandary of a bad trip vigorously conveyed.

Staying on the subject of drugs, it may even be argued that the film even has a hint of social commentary running through it. While the party scenes involve the usual drug-spects such as ecstasy and speed, the catalyst in the story is the aforementioned legal drug called "Taldon". The opinion 'its legal so it must be safe' is often foolishly assumed by society, as is the illusion of side effects. (There is no such thing as side effects of a medicine... there are simply effects...).

Gauzy societal views aside, this movie is a depraved piece of fast paced work! Packed with gore and black humour you could be forgiven for labelling it Horror Comedy. When the prerequisite to a DVD is "a few beers", you are usually faced with something only truly appreciated by school children. SKATD treads a thin line this respect, but thankfully saves itself by having enough nastiness to keep it as a horror movie. The reason American Werewolf in London worked so well was mainly due to the dark humour being kept segregated from the more horrific set pieces within the movie. For the most part, the violence in SKATD is played straight, with the humour reserved for dialogue scenes.

And of this humour, be warned, it is delectably politically incorrect in places. For example, if I called someone with a speech impediment "SPAS" at work I am sure I would be shown the door quicker then you could say "O-o-o-o-o-nly j-j-j-joking.."!

The movie does tread the tight rope of absurdly nasty and comically ridiculous. A 15 inch phallus freely swinging from the groin of rampant obese man, possessed by a dead serial killer could be problematic when trying to achieve a genuinely scary scene, but somehow director Chad Ferrin pulls it off.

Upon first viewing I did feel the ending was a bit of a cop out. But when I watched the movie again there was a fair share of subtle hints within the narrative to justify the plot's conclusion. I wouldn't want to curse the movie by comparing it to the hugely overrated SIXTH SENSE but the principle is the same - a second viewing reveals a whole host of clues. And with a sensible running time of around 80 minutes spiced with the controversial mix of sex into the violence, subsequent viewings are not a chore by any means.

Ferrin, has created an adult themed and entertaining romp that is easy on the brain and has enough titillating flesh and gushing blood to satisfy most self-respecting gorehounds. A word of warning however: if you do go for a beer or 8 before watching a movie... just make sure you read the small print on that box of Annadin Extra the morning after!

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by 4Digital Media
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review