Knock at the Cabin: Movie Review

Knock at the Cabin Movie Review: Surprisingly Straightforward

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For an M. Night Shyamalan affair, "Knock at the Cabin" was a surprisingly straightforward thriller. Without spoiling much, there's really no forced plot twist or unnecessary gut punches to make people "talk" about the film. It is pretty much what you see is what you get. Honestly, this was a refreshing back-to-basics approach rarely experienced in a Shyamalan film. This gave each emotion and each standoff a visceral feel that we didn't anticipate at all.

Adopted child Wen (Kristen Cui) are with her gay parents Andrew (Jonathan Groff) and Eric (Ben Aldridge) at a remote cabin for a vacation. Their serene vacation comes to an abrupt end when they encounter a group of four armed strangers comes knocking – Leonard (Dave Bautista), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Adrianne (Abby Quinn) and Redmond (Rupert Grint) who take them hostage. The family is informed that they have been haunted and tormented by a shared prophecy: that the world will end unless the family in this cabin chooses one member of the family to be sacrificed.

We won't deny it. We're huge suckers for M. Night Shyamalan's work. Even with his works' quirks, there's just something that always had us liking much of his output. "Knock at the Cabin" may have that "mysterious" premise to hook us but it didn't have the usual Shyamalan eccentricities that have lost their appeal in most of his recent outputs. Even his cameo here is heavily subdued. What works is that beyond its initial premise of a sudden apocalyptic end to our world, we get to know our main characters throughout the film. The family that needs to sacrifice one of their own in exchange for the survival of humanity. We enjoyed getting to know the tumultuous love story between gay parents Andrew and Eric and their adopted child Wen and how it impacted that decision to sacrifice or not. We also loved how the tension was palpable from the film's start to its climactic end. This film was spooky and heavy which caught us off-guard. But what didn't work was the lack of backstory on our antagonists. Much of their characterization was skimmed through conversations that didn't really give justice to their cause. Looking at the film's running time, there was a missed opportunity here and this is the rare film that we felt was a too short to fully realize its potential.   

Rating: 3 and a half reels

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