While vacationing at a remote cabin in the woods, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand they make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. Confused, scared and with limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Screenplay by: M. Night Shyamalan, Steve Desmond, Michael Sherman
Based on The Cabin at the End of the World by: Paul G. Tremblay
Cinematography: Jarin Blaschke
Editing: Noemi Katharina Preiswerk
Music: Herdís Stefánsdóttir
Cast: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint
There are few enigmas in the film world like M. Night Shyamalan. With beloved films like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Split among his filmography, he also has also made a number of reviled films like The Happening and The Last Airbender. Despite his mixed record, filmgoers continue to turn out to see his films which prove successful at the box office and fans are sure to be keen to check out his latest film.
Knock at the Cabin revolves around the family of Eric (Jonathan Groff), Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and their adopted daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) who are vacationing in a remote cabin. Their holiday takes a turn for the worse when four people force their way into their cabin, tie them up and tell them they must make an important choice: choose to kill a member of their family or doom all of humanity to the apocalypse.
There is a lot to like here. The film sets off at a fantastic pace, quickly introducing the premise and the characters while setting a high sense of tension. Dave Bautista is fantastic as Leonard whose introduction sets the tone of unease for the film with his over-politeness and mild-manneredness in complete contrast to his obvious physique. In fact, the whole cast is very good, with the chemistry between Groff and Aldridge making their relationship work while young Kristen Cui is fantastic with what she is asked to do.
Unfortunately, the plot and mystery of the film are unable to sustain themselves and start to come apart in the second half of the film. A lot of the film rides on you being torn as to whether these home invaders are telling the truth or not, but the characters make a number of decisions that swayed me at least in one direction, making me question why certain characters weren’t doing more to be convincing.The film is also surprisingly bloodless, which was by no means necessary, but is symptomatic of the film pulling its punches potentially to reach a wider audience.
Knock at The Cabin is a classic case of a film that was fun and enjoyable in the moment, but on reflection, you pick apart and come to see lots of its flaws. There is certainly fun to be had and some great performances to watch, but this film is not going to be memorable like Shyamalan’s best films or his worst.
Ashley Hobley attended an advance screening of Knock at The Cabin thanks to Universal Pictures Australia and Event Cinemas.