Knock at the Cabin [Film Review]

Knock At The Cabin film review Universal Studios

Knock at the Cabin
Released: February 2, 2023

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Dave Bautista, Kristen Cui, Jonathon Groff, Ben Aldridge, Rupert Grint.

M. Night Shyamalan has had his share of hits and misses over the years, but after the 2021 release of Old rekindled my interest in his work, I was curious if Knock At The Cabin would be another winner. It’s been four days since I watched it and I’m still not sure how I feel about the film.

The movie wastes no time giving the story a beginning or any kind of character development and takes us straight into the woods with young Wen (Kristen Cui) out collecting grasshoppers when she is approached by Leonard (Dave Bautista). Leonard is a big guy, but is very mild-mannered and soft-spoken. He looks like a beefed-up Jehovah’s Witness, to be honest. However, Wen is a smart kid who knows not to talk to strangers so when Leonard suggests they play a game asking each other questions, her first question is straight to the point – “why are you here?”

Wen is sufficiently creeped out as Leonard’s acquaintances arrive holding large weapons and she runs to her adoptive parents, Eric and Andrew, who are out the back completely unaware of what’s happening. After some intense knocking on the door followed by the assailants attempting to break in, Eric and Andrew are tied up and faced with one massive life-altering decision: They must sacrifice one member of their family to save humanity from the apocalypse. If they don’t, everyone on the planet – except them – will die. Personally, I’m not seeing a problem there. People are awful. To prove the apocalypse has arrived, Leonard turns on the television. If it’s on the television then it must be true right? The news shows stories of enormous tidal waves, blizzards, a child-killing plague and planes falling from the sky. Leonard explains that they were brought together by mutual visions and it’s their mission to help save the planet from destruction.

As the story unfolds it’s up to Eric and Andrew to decide if the intruders are telling the truth or just some deluded cult, a decision made particularly difficult by Eric’s concussion.

(from left) Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Leonard (Dave Bautista) in Knock at the Cabin, directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

We’re all accustomed to M. Night Shyamalan films having a ‘woah’ moment as the big twist reveals what we thought we knew was completely wrong, but this is not that kind of movie. Unlike most of his filmography including Signs, The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, Shyamalan didn’t write this story. Knock at the Cabin is based on the novel The Cabin At The End of the World by Paul Tremblay. So when you go to the cinema, just chill and watch what is happening on the big screen, because there’s no need to prove you’re smarter than one of the detectives on Law and Order.

So as I said at the start, I’m unsure how I feel about Knock At The Cabin because, to be honest, it’s a film that makes you think. It’s not some popcorn movie that gives you a cheap thrill for two hours and you continue with your day. The storyline of Knock At The Cabin stays with you and prompts discussion. Perhaps that’s a sign of a good movie? I did enjoy it, I just didn’t love it. The film has made one noticeable change from the book’s plot line and it’s a travesty they left it out because it really would have amped up the feeling of dread I felt was lacking. When you consider the insanity that was 2020 (Australia was on fire, the Covid pandemic, murder hornets, aliens and Kanye West announcing he was going to run for President) the news programming doesn’t seem all that strange.

Film Review by Katie Torrance

Knock At The Cabin is now showing in cinemas across Australia.

Find local sessions here

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