Knock at the Cabin is a review of a film that does not contain any major spoilers.
Knock at the Cabin is considered by many to be M. Night Shyamalan's finest film in years. (While I enjoyed Glass, it had its flaws, which were obvious and self-indulgent). At the same time, most of his films are considered as successes and misses as a result of his magnificent four-film career with Disney.
Regardless of what the critics (or studio executives) claim, you can't argue that a guy abandons his own vision. His latest film displays a firm hand we may have never seen from him. It's a stoic horror film that ramps up an incredible amount of tension without exceeding audiences' expectations.
Review and plot description of Knock at the Cabin
Wen, a lovely Kristen Cui, is the subject of a book about a couple's adoption. She informs her fathers, Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew, that they are having a picnic outside. She is apprehensive. Perhaps she had a strange encounter with a neighbor or hunter? Possibly a funny encounter with an imaginary friend. However, they hear a knock at the door.
Leonard (Dave Bautista), whom Wen met outside while catching grasshoppers moments before running into the cabin to warn Eric and Andrew. He wants to be friends with Wen and assures the young girl that Leonard cares for her best interests no matter what.
Is this a random event, or is it aimed at a gay couple? Despite her murderous intentions, Leonard has brought Sabrina (I'm Thinking of Ending Things' Abby Quinn) as his only companion. He also has a line cook who wears her heart on her sleeve, Adriane (I'm Thinking of Ending Things' Abby Quinn).
The script was written by Shyamalan, but it isn't an original work, which may explain why the film is so well-constructed. It was adapted from Paul G. Tremblay's The Cabin at the End of the World, and it's beautifully done.
Redmond's rage, but the situation has forced him to reflect on his actions. Sabrina's behavior is like watching a doctor in a war movie. He's caring and nurturing, but understanding the situation is catastrophic. He's the most interesting because we learn he teaches and coaches children's sports, which explains his tender nature with Wen. Yet, the group never even manipulates or uses emotional abuse.
While I agree that the writing, the framing, and the steady hand are great, I was puzzled by one plot point. So, spoilers ahead. If the family says no, the group claims that this shifts the apocalypse along to the next stage. What if the group simply refuses to go this route, the entire end of the world would never be triggered, or at least, never proceed to critical steps towards destruction.
Is Knock at the Cabin a Success?
The cast is exceptional; this is Dave Bautista's best career performance. Knock at the Cabin is a tightly wound, well-paced, and plotted film that delivers some stoic thrills and poignant moments that alleviate the tension without needing humor. This is a well-crafted thriller with plenty of flaws to point out and debate.
Till Shyamalan's next "accidental" trilogy, you'll know.
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