Title – Knock at the Cabin (2023)
Director – M. Night Shyamalan (Unbreakable)
Cast – Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Rupert Grint, Kristen Cui
Plot – A family enjoying a stay in an isolated cabin in the woods are interrupted by a group of four strangers who claim that they must make an unimaginable sacrifice to save the very future of mankind and the planet.
“The four of us are here to prevent the apocalypse”
Review by Eddie on 07/03/2023
Compared directly against writer/director M. Night Shyamalan’s most dire of films such as After Earth, The Happening and The Last Airbender, his latest production Knock at the Cabin is something of minor masterpiece but unfortunately despite a great set-up and the potential to be something special, Shyamalan’s effort here is another one of his could’ve been films.
Based on author Paul Tremblay’s book The Cabin at the End of the World, Cabin has existed in the Hollywood system over the last couple of years with co-screenwriter’s Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman’s original iteration of this adaptation garnering significant attention in it’s early life and it’s not hard to see why many were exited by the prospect of seeing Tremblay’s material make it to the big screen but Shyamalan is unable to maximise the ideas, tension and intrigue on offer here as the film attempts to gather up steam on its way to a loaded conclusion that should’ve hit far harder than it does here.
Starting out in a positive way by getting stuck straight into the action as Dave Bautista’s mysterious Leonard introduces himself to Kristen Cui’s grasshopper collecting Wen in a remote holiday cabin her and her parents are staying in, Cabin gets things moving in an engaging manner but after the opening 15-20 minutes has settled into a rather repetitive and unimaginative grove, the fact we just don’t really care about any of these characters and their plight begins to wear the film down in a big way until we get to a point where its more appealing to reach the credits rather than spending more time worrying about the could be real/could be made up apocalypse Leonard and his collaborators are claiming to be impending if a significant and willing sacrifice isn’t made inside the wooden walls they’re all in.
In a huge win for the film, Bautista is a shining light here getting to portray a character we have yet to see him inhabit over his more recent stints in the Hollywood system with Leonard far removed from the likes of his Guardians of the Galaxy’s Drax or Glass Onion’s Duke characters but outside of Leonard who remains an intriguing enigma for much of the films runtime, everyone else struggles to make their turns work with Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge as Wen’s parents Eric and Andrew particularly notable in their inability to work off one another to bring the stories central hook of sacrifice against the odds work.
There’s a great film somewhere in Cabin but Shyamalan is unable to unleash it here as a finished product, with the film well-shot but emotionally cold and distant, making for another frustratingly off the boil film from a director who has constantly teased us with his potential outside of a few massive wins.
Final Say –
A typically promising but in the end wayward M. Night Shyamalan film, Knock at the Cabin fails to become the film all would’ve hoped for, even if Dave Bautista shines a role we haven’t been accustomed to him playing so far in his career.
2 homemade tools out of 5
agree with you The premise was unbelievable, the twist predictable and the end underwealming.
I was excited to see this one, thought the whole idea was great but yep a very tame movie with little to recommend.
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