Knock At The Cabin is filled with incredible performances, a handful of surprises, but no classic Shyamalan twist. Is this film a hit or a miss?
M. Night Shyamalan has made some of the best horror, thriller, twist-filled movies, but he doesn’t always hit. Signs and Sixth Sense are both phenomenal movies that hold up over the years, however not all of his films do. Knock At The Cabin looked intriguing, suspenseful, and creepy from the trailers — but we have learned to never count on Shyamalan to completely shock us. That said, this movie boasts an incredible cast, and is based off of a best selling book — so it had to be a hit versus a miss, right?
Knock At The Cabin puts a family in an unthinkable situation. Andrew, Eric, and their young daughter Wen are on vacation in the woods, staying at a peaceful cabin, when four strangers show up and explain visions they have been having. The trio is told that they must make a choice — their family or humanity.
If they do not choose a member of their family to kill (willingly) the apocalypse will come and every other human on Earth will perish. The family? They will be left to wander the scorched Earth.
While the movie itself has some issues, we need to shine a light on the incredible performances from this cast.
Dave Bautista plays Leonard, one of the strangers who shows up at the cabin and easily the most relatable. By all appearances, he should be terrifying. Andrew and Eric even comment on how big he is at the start of the film. Instead, he is like a lamb. A true sweetheart who is calm and collected, despite what he feels he is tasked to do. His chemistry with Kristen Cui, who plays Wen, is the best part of the movie. The two make it feel believable and we loved seeing them together on screen.
Rupert Grint is great as Redmond, but feels very underused. That said, he leaves a lasting impression. Abby Quinn plays the role of Ardiane perfectly, casting doubt on the things she is saying, while Nikki Amuka-Bird portrays Sabrina as the one that makes you start to believe it is all true. We don’t want to go into these four strangers in too much detail, in an effort to avoid spoilers, but Eric reveals details in the end that make them all make sense — and proves they played their roles well.
Jonathan Groff (Eric) and Ben Aldridge (Andrew) represent two sides of a person. The faithful, kind-hearted side, and the vengeful, on-edge side. It makes sense that they would be in a relationship as they seem to bring out the best in each other, while both being almost opposite people. They each act differently in the situation they are put in, but it their love still shines through. If it wasn’t for the flashbacks, though, it would have been a struggle to like them as a couple.
We touched on her briefly, but Kristen Cui is the standout here. She is absolutely phenomenal. Adorable when she needs to be, scared when it calls for it, and a true spitfire when it comes to her family. Audiences will fall in love with her and trust us, she is going places.
Doesn’t Waste Any Time
Knock At The Cabin does not waste any time getting into the nitty-gritty of it all. Within minutes, Dave Bautista is already tromping through the woods to get to the cabin, and things only get more intense from there. This movie clocks in at just an hour and forty minutes, which is much appreciated. Sure, there are some slow parts but this is in an effort to better tell the story and get to know the characters.
Is Knock At The Cabin Scary?
Knock At The Cabin is billed as a sort of horror-thriller, but it really isn’t that at all. It isn’t scary at all. In fact, it doesn’t even push the envelope when it comes to blood and gore. What we do see is very light. Just enough to let us know what is happening, and then it moves along. Perhaps this is because a young actress is involved in the movie, although that hasn’t stopped filmmakers before.
There are a few jump scares that happen, so if you are a jumpy person you might leap in your seat once or twice. The film itself never gets scary. It is more a thriller that will have you wondering what is and isn’t real.
Missing That Signature Twist
M. Night Shyamalan is known for his twists. Think back to all of his movies and there is something that comes completely out of left field at the end, which is what makes fans flock to his films. The issue with Knock At The Cabin is that there really isn’t one.
While there are some times that viewers will be on the edge of their seats, this just doesn’t happen enough to make the movie as a whole as powerful as it should be. That said, the most suspenseful and intense moments come when we feel that the twist is about to be revealed — and then there isn’t one. It doesn’t necessarily take away from the feel of those moments, but it doesn’t help them either.
Knock At The Cabin is not M. Night Shyamalan’s best work. Because of the great casting, it raises it to a lot higher than it should be. These actors all do what they can with what they are given. They deliver powerful performances that will have viewers wondering what choices they would make.
The best piece of advice we can give you is to go in expecting more of a thriller than a horror movie. If you have read the book, we can all but guarantee you will like that ending better, so don’t expect this changed version of the story to blow your minds.
Go to the movie hoping to have a good time, watch some great performances, and ponder what choice you would make if in the situation that Andrew, Eric, and Wen find themselves in.
Rating: 3 out of 5
About Knock At The Cabin
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.
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Tessa Smith is a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved Film and TV Critic. She is also a Freelance Writer. Tessa has been in the Entertainment writing business for almost ten years and is a member of several Critics Associations including the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, and the Greater Western New York Film Critics Association.