While vacationing at a remote cabin, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. With limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.
What We Thought:
Because I read the book The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay which this movie is based on, I didn’t get much out of Knock at the Cabin. I knew what it was about and what to expect. I knew the ending. I have a friend who hasn’t read the book and he thought the movie was suspenseful and unflinching so for people who haven’t read the book, they might like the flick.
I’m also not an M. Night Shyamalan fan. Signs is his only movie I’d ever consider watching again, but I will say that Knock at the Cabin is probably his least “M. Night Shyamalan” movie. Maybe he stuck to the source material more than he normally would and because it already had a surprise twist, he didn’t need to do his normal “M. Night” twist that you see coming a mile away. When I watch an M. Night film I sit there waiting for the big reveal, which if you have half a brain, you figured out already. I read Tremblay’s book, I knew what the final twist was in the movie.
What made it at least watchable for me is it might be Shyamalan’s darkest film. Yes The Sixth Sense was about ghosts and dead people and yes Signs was about an alien invasion, but Knock at the Cabin is based more in reality. It’s more human. You might think it’s your typical home invasion plot, but all 7 main characters are humanized. The four people you think are the bad guys explain who they are and what they are about. The two fathers and the daughter are all grounded in reality as well. The bad guys don’t think they are bad guys. The two fathers want to protect their family and you get a bit of backstory about them and their daughter while never spending too much time outside of what’s happening in the cabin. It’s this single location for the bulk of the movie that at least keeps the movie on one track and never losing focus of where it’s going.
There are some shots and close-ups that I just didn’t like. When we are first introduced to Dave Bautista’s character and the young girl, each shot is a close-up of their faces and that didn’t work for me. Yet I thought M. Night did a good job with the pacing. The film pretty much starts right away and keeps going throughout. Within minutes we are at the cabin, introduced to everyone and focused on what’s happening. It’s a fast movie with a low runtime which really helps keep it on track as well and never wanders too far away.
I know this time of year tends to be a dead zone at theaters, but I’m surprised Knock at the Cabin isn’t getting a bigger push. Some people like M. Night Shyamalan still and it’s a serviceable enough movie that could have done well if pushed bigger. I think it will open pretty strong because there isn’t much else to see currently. I didn’t get much out of it, but I knew too much before seeing it. I don’t think I’d watch it again, but the fact that I sat through an M. Night film without hating it is pretty surprising.
M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan and Steve Desmond & Michael Sherman, based on the book The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay
Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint
M. Night Shyamalan, Marc Bienstock, Ashwin Rajan
Steven Schneider, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos, Ashley Fox