So far series ten has worn its influences proudly on its sleeve. We’ve seen episodes influenced by Japanese horror and Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror; this time it was the turn of the horror films of the 1950’s. Having influenced quite a few previous episodes of Doctor Who, including series seven’s ‘Hide’, there was a worry another fifties horror based story could have suffered from over familiarity. Luckily this was far from the case.
‘Knock Knock’ was the strongest episode of the series so far. Drawing influence from films such as Williams Castle’s 1959 classic House on Hunted Hill and even head further back from the fifties Karl Freund’s The Mummy from 1932; the story also had similarities to Spirit Trap, a film from 2005, which stared none other than Billie Piper (aka former companion to the Doctor -Rose Tyler). It had not only scares but an overall feeling of uneasiness from the beginning. Pile on top of that snappy dialogue, a great story and superb performances; it’s not hard to see why it just seemed to work.
Pearl Mackie as ‘Bill’ held more than her own alongside acting greats Peter Capaldi and David Suchet. Better known for his portrayal of Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’, Suchet’s ‘Landlord’ was the stand out performance; as he effortlessly switched from creepy, to sinister, to frightened child.
It was refreshing to see ‘Bill’ also treat the ‘Doctor’ as an embarrassing parent in front of her new housemates. There was also a nice reference to the ‘Doctor’s’ granddaughter and original companion ‘Susan’ when ‘Bill’ started referring to him as grandfather.
The episode ended with a nice hook as the ‘Doctor’ had a one way conversation with the occupant of the mysterious safe. We then watched as it was opened and the ‘Doctor’ went to go inside; a nice tease for a future reveal.
Marks out of 10: 10