2016 was a good year for witches in film (The Witch and The Love Witch, to name two of the best), and it looks like 2017 isn’t planning to ease up on the resurgence of these creepy supernatural ladies. But whereas the aforementioned films are fiercely unique and idiosyncratic visions, Don’t Knock Twice takes the concept of a malevolent spell-caster and places her squarely inside an old-fashioned scary movie. The film follows Chloe (Sing Street’s Lucy Boynton), a young woman who was spooked by local legend about a neighborhood witch, and is subsequently sent to live with her estranged mother (Katee Sackhoff). What at first looks like a troubled young person’s nightmares quickly become real, as the evil presence is soon manifesting all over the place, doing everything from leaving threatening messages on the ground to standard evil tricks like freaking people out in their own home.
Nobody’s trying to reinvent the wheel here (the trailer literally touts the abundance of jump scares in the film), but with luck, this will be a fun and exhilarating horror film, the kind of thing that plays best to a crowded opening-night audience looking to get good and scared. Plus, director Caradog W. James (actual name) has already proven his genre bona fides with the smart and compelling sci-fi thriller The Machine—here’s hoping he’s equally at home deploying the tropes of horror to maximum effect. Don’t Knock Twice comes out February 3.