Knock at the Cabin

Knock at the Cabin
A solid latter-day effort by M. Night Shyamalan.

Knock at the Cabin

While vacationing, a girl and her parents are taken hostage by armed strangers who demand that the family make a choice to avert the apocalypse.

A family finds themselves terrorized by four individuals claiming to be trying to stop the apocalypse in . Eric () and Andrew () are on vacation at a cabin in the woods with their adopted daughter Wen (). However, their solitude is disrupted by the arrival of Leonard (), Sabrina (), Ardiane (), and Redmond (), all of whom are brandishing weapons. Leonard says that Eric, Andrew, and Wen must choose a family member to sacrifice, or it will bring about the apocalypse.

Knock at the Cabin Synopsis

Knock at the Cabin is a thriller co-written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Split, Old), based on the 2018 novel “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay. The film stars Dave Bautista (Army of the Dead, Glass Onion) as Leonard, the leader of a group of four individuals who break into the cabin of Eric and Andrew, played by Jonathan Groff (Mindhunder, The Matrix Resurrections) and Ben Aldridge (Spoiler Alert), who are on vacation with their adopted daughter Wen. Leonard gives the ultimatum that Eric and Andrew have to choose a family member to sacrifice. With each no given, an apocalyptic plague is unleashed on the world. Andrew believes this to be nonsense, however as disasters suddenly begin occurring, the question arises whether the apocalypse is truly happening.

My Thoughts on Knock at the Cabin

M. Night Shyamalan has reached the part of his career where his films aren't scrutinized as much as during his peak over two decades ago. We are even past his brief resurgence with 2016's Split and its follow-up Glass. Like 2021's Old, based on the graphic novel Sandcastle, Knock at the Cabin is an adaptation of the novel “The Cabin at the End of the World” co-written by Shyamalan with Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman, both best known for a 2015 horror short called Monsters.

Frankly, I don't know why Shyamalan opted to change the original novel's title since The Cabin at the End of the World makes a lot more sense than just Knock at the Cabin, especially since the actual knocking only happens briefly toward the start. Perhaps it's the influence of his co-writers, but Knock at the Cabin ends up being M. N Shyamalan's second film to get an R-rating for the first time since The Happening back in 2008.

Thematically, Knock at the Cabin comes across like a mix of The Happening and 2002's Signs, though the reasoning for the latter can be constituted a spoiler. Most of the film's plot takes place in and around the cabin, though apocalyptic events are shown through TV news broadcasts. The film also features flashbacks, which detail the history of Eric and Andrew's relationship, which plays into the hard choice they are forced to make.

As the very imposing yet soft-spoken Leonard, Knock at the Cabin is one of the biggest demonstrations of former pro-wrestler Dave Bautisa's efforts to be taken seriously as an actor and not get typecast in his roles. Also playing against type is Harry Potter alumnus Rupert Grint, who also appears in the M. Night Shyamalan-produced Apple TV+ series Servant. Grint is as far from Ron Weasley as possible, playing the violent redneck Redmond.

While the days of M. Night Shyamalan being a major buzz-worthy draw are behind him, Knock at the Cabin ends up being a solid latter-day effort from the filmmaker. I won't say whether or not there is a twist to this story, but the film doesn't go into some interesting places.

Trailer for Knock at the Cabin

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.