King Knight (2021)
Director (and writer): Richard Bates Jr.
Cast: Matthew Gray Gubler, Angela Sarafyan, Andy Milonakis, Kate Comer, Nelson Franklin, Emily Chang, Johnny Pemberton, Josh Fadem, Barbara Crampton, Ray Wise, Aubrey Plaza (voice), AnnaLynne McCord (voice)
The High Priest of a modern-day coven finds his life thrown into turmoil and ventures out on a journey of self-discovery. – IMDB
King Knight is a 2021 comedy about a man living in a coven who confesses his past truth about his high school days to his coven family when he receives an invitation to a high school reunion that brings him to his self-discovery about being true to himself.
Comedy is a tricky thing. King Knight delivers this through a quirky humor and using a serious dramatic tones and reactions to some ridiculous bits that make the humor land because of this. The film is odd right from the start when the coven is introduced right down to its cast portraying a variety of different characters each with their own charm. The witch coven are filled with a group of people who have their everyday issues and they look towards their leader Thorn to help them solve it. As they go through different rituals, the coven becomes a little more clear that as much as witches usually are portrayed as scary, these modern-day witches are anything but. They live in their own little world with their own rules and rituals alongside this coven family who promotes honesty, acceptance and positivity in general.
King Knight does feel like a simple film about self-discovery and yet this one is very focused on its different characters. Matthew Gray Gubler carries the film rather well as the leading role Thorn. From his reluctance to face his past including his mother to his opening up to his high school past and facing up to its consequences in the first part to his journey to the reunion which leads him to many funny moments like hallucinating conversations with talking pine cones and rocks and his encounter with Merlin (yes, the powerful wizard). His role is colorful and adventurous even if it all sounds a little weird. Playing his companion is Willow played by Angela Sarafyan who is absolutely fantastic and perhaps in her seriousness of how she faces these rather silly revelations about Thorn, her interpretation is so animated that it carries a lot of humor especially with her reaction to his high school popularity that many titles of being prom king and playing lacrosse which puts her in an overreaction that is completely out of proportions and yet is amazingly entertaining to watch.
Much like the other supporting characters who also bring in different people of the society that all group up to be this coven family that promotes their diversity and acceptance to anyone. They each have their own little revelations throughout that come into play as they also need to embrace their world with and without their leader as they discuss a topic of being hypocrites, in some ways. The with coven creates this endearing ragtag family that sticks together as they start to accept Thorn. Much like the other side of the spectrum shows a smaller role for indie horror film favorite Barbara Crampton who pulls a small but stellar role as Thorn’s mother who emphasizes on her disapproval of his life choices as she mocks him a little when he finally reaches out to her.
King Knight also brings in some pop culture into its script. In some ways, it uses these different clever dialogues and metaphors to talk about the reality of people and society. As it all comes to a very fun little ending where Thorn finally embraces being true to himself which is reminiscent of Little Miss Sunshine to some extent. Sure, the film has some oddities to it and the pacing sometimes feels a little funky but when you think back to it, the clever scripts and some of the performances by this cast does work out for the better. It might not all feel like its balanced very well and maybe some might feel this journey a little too weird to be fun but comedy doesn’t land the same for everyone. What does make King Knight unique and worth watching is the different outlook on how witches are normally portrayed on film and for the most part, this one promotes a wonderful message of positive vibes and acceptance.
*King Knight had its world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival on August 8th, 2021.*