Emily Mody - Knuckleball (CUFF 2018)

Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 05:00 PM

Knuckleball (CUFF 2018)

Review by Emily Mody x CalgaryMovies.com

Knuckleball directed by Michael Peterson is a feature length, narrative thriller film. The story follows twelve year old Henry (played by Luca Villacis) who gets dropped off at his grandfather’s farm while his parents travel to the city. Henry spends the day with his grandfather, Jacob (played by Michael Ironside). It is with his grandfather that Henry learns all about the physical labour that comes along with owning and running a farm. After a short reprieve, Henry meets Dixon (played by Munro Chambers), his grandfather’s neighbour. Dixon is a particularly sinister individual who is only kept in check by the relationship he has with Jacob. That night Jacob passes away in his sleep and with a bad winter storm settling in, Henry is left alone and to the mercy of Dixon. While Henry fights to defend his safety he learns that his family has a dark history.

Well, it has been a full day since I have watched Knuckleball and I still do not know how I feel about it. There are some aspects of the plot that were very rich and I wish had been explored more deeply. I have to say that in some ways Knuckleball was very scary but in other ways it kind of gave me a “dark version of Home Alone” vibe. Other aspects of the plot seemed a little too convenient and silly. In terms of writing there is room for improvement but I was, however, very impressed with the acting. I particularly enjoyed Chambers. He did a very convincing portrayal of a predator and I found he was very frightening. I also really enjoyed Ironside. He had a perfect balance of sincerity mixed with cynicism and mystery.

Okay, so I sincerely hate to say this, especially given that this is a thriller film but there were definitely aspects of Knuckleball that reminded me of Home Alone. Particularly the scene when Henry returns to his home to setup all of the traps and get ready for the invading Dixon. There was something very juvenile in the way these moments were conveyed. Perhaps this was meant to demonstrate Henry’s point of view but I cannot be sure of that and it made things feel much less sinister.

Although I would not recommend Knuckleball on the basis of my personal enjoyment level you should definitely still go check out the rest of the festival. If you have a soft spot for thrillers or an interest in stories involving childhood trauma then you may want to try it.

Knuckleball runs a total of 88 minutes. It does not appear that this film has been rated yet but, in my opinion, it is only suitable for adults or teens accompanied by an adult. Knuckleball contains swearing, violence, gore, and abuse.

Knuckleball premieres nationally as a part of the 15th Calgary Underground Film Festival 2018 (CUFF). Director Michael Peterson and cast and crew will be in attendance. It will be playing on Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at 6:30pm at the Globe Cinema

Calgary Showtimes: Knuckleball >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.