Nutshell Review: Knock at the Cabin
PG Score: 7.5/10
Knock at the Cabin was released in theaters on 2/3/23
Knock at the Cabin is M. Night Shyamalan's (Unbreakable, Old) latest foray onto the big screen. Having been hit-or-miss over the years with a tendency to overcomplicate, this film was eagerly anticipated for many reasons. Was there going to be a big twist? Was the twist going to make sense? What side of the coin was this film going to end up on?
At first glance, the premise of Knock at the Cabin is pretty straightforward. A group of four men and women approach an isolated cabin where they force the couple and their daughter renting it to make a choice to help save the world. To paraphrase Luke Skywalker from The Last Jedi though, "This is not going to go how you think."
I hear you knocking, but you can't come in.
The good news is the things I didn't like about the film happened early. Knock at the Cabin starts quickly, but almost too quickly. The opening credits flew by in large yellow lettering that were very distracting and covered up some important background material that would be called back on later in the film. An odd choice of focus early on had extreme close-ups that were disorienting. Perhaps it was by design (which it probably was) but I found it off-putting and discomforting.
What I did enjoy was how this movie swiftly jumped right into the meat of the story. There have been many end-of-days films, but Shyamalan keeps it fresh with this unique take on the end of the world. You think the film is going to go a certain way, but it becomes clear pretty fast that this isn't a run-of-the-mill apocalyptic film. Flashbacks to help flesh out the background of our captive family are used sparingly and wisely to help in what becomes the film's conclusion.
Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Leonard plays a soft-spoken, gentle character, despite his intimidating size, and is the leader of our group of four. Bautista gives a subtle but strong performance in his best role to date. He works well with the entire cast, but especially the young Kristen Cui as Wen, who plays the adopted daughter of Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge). The contrasting sizes between the biggest cast member and the littlest work well and they share a solid chemistry.
Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door.
Knock at the Cabin doesn't disappoint and introduces another interesting film dealing with the end of times. Hard choices on both sides add an interesting layer and keep this film in the gray and not the typical black and white, good and bad. Subtle on the destruction and violence, it comes off more devastating when certain events do happen. It is a speedy, fun story that deals with the love of a family versus the love of all life and the decisions one must make when faced with the end of the world. Knock at the Cabin is another worthy addition to Shyamalan's catalogue and end of the world films.