By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
I love a good off-beat comedy. And for all intents and purposes, King Knight is a good one, but not exactly great either. For my second film of Fantasia 2021, I chose what I thought sounded like a highly entertaining and potentially uproarious comedy about a coven leader whose greatest fear is to face and accept his past. Though that sounds rather intriguing, the past of the movie’s protagonist is not at all what one would expect. There is much to love and enjoy in King Knight; however, I feel that the limitations of the writing never allows the film to soar as high as it possibly could have.
Matthew Gray Gubler stars Thorn, the beloved and well-respected leader of his coven who, with his loving wife Willow (Angela Sarafyan), attempt to lead by example by remaining true to the Wiccan way. Thorn, however, has been going through a crisis. The time of his high school reunion has arrived, and Thorn fears facing a part of his life of which he is ashamed. At the same time, Thorn believes that if he doesn’t reveal the truths about his past to Willow and their coven, that he is not being completely honest about who he is. The truth of the matter is that Thorn was never a tormented outcast in high school. He actually was the most popular guy in his class, as well as a skillful athlete. After revealing the truth to Willow, they agree he must share this information with the coven and that he must build up the courage to go to his high school reunion no matter what both sides of his life think.
Written and directed by Richard Bates, Jr., King Knight has a delightfully fun premise with some wonderful messages about being true to oneself, as well as some great comedic scenes. Still, I feel that there is so much comedy potential wasted here, and that the movie never is as hilarious as it could be. It is as simple as that. The movie has some fun characters, amusing scenarios, and an undeniable heart, but the big climax of the movie also feels rather weak and uninspired.
On the positive side, the movie’s cast all perform well, despite the weaknesses of the writing. Matthew Gray Gubler is great as Thorn, a very amiable, but lost and fearful coven leader who is now ashamed of the popular jock he once was. Angela Sarafyan is absolutely fun to watch and exudes a very seductive quality as Thorn’s life partner Willow. King Knight also features some entertaining and funny turns by Andy Milonakis, Nelson Franklin, Kate Comer, Emily Chang, Johnny Pemberton, and Josh Fadem as the other members of Thorn and Willow’s coven. Also making an enjoyable and fun appearance is horror legend Barbara Crampton as Thorn’s angry mother Ruth.
Despite my criticisms and complaints about the movie, I still moderately recommend King Knight. It has enough good going for it to keep fans of horror-themed comedy amused and entertained.