Knock, Knock at the Cabin. Who’s There? Strangers Telling You It’s the End of the World. No, Thank You, We Don’t Want Any!

The Stream: Too repetitive even for a relatively short movie.

The Big Screen: An interesting premise has great potential for thrills, and Dave Bautista’s looming presence is menacing

The Final Bill: A decent M. Night Shyamala movie that builds tension but gets too repetitive to sustain the interesting premise

– Trip Fontaine
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writers: M. Night Shyamalan, Steve Desmond, Michael Sherman based on the novel “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay
Stars: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Rupert Grint, Abby Quinn, Kristen Cui
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: R for violence and language
Runtime: 1 hour 33 minutes
Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Blinding Edge Pictures, FilmNation Entertainment, Perfect World Pictures, Wishmore
Platform: In theaters on February 3, 2023
Notable Trailers: Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant, Beau Is Afraid, 65, Evil Dead Rise, Renfield, Cocaine Bear

Okay, Streamers, I know we all have been waiting on pins and needles for M. Night Shyamalan’s next feature film, and it’s finally here. Oh, was that only me? Okay, then… Anway, I was anticipating Knock at the Cabin since I saw the first trailer last fall. Home invasion and the end of the world movies build on reasonable fears that many people have, so let’s see what Shyamalan was able to do with the mix of these two.

Knock at the Cabin is based on a novel by Paul Tremblay, “The Cabin at the End of the World.” Shyamalan and his co-writers have adapted that novel into this movie. The basic premise is that a gay couple and their adopted daughter are on a vacation in a remote cabin in Pennsylvania when four strangers come to the cabin and tell them that the world will end unless they decide to sacrifice one of their own. It’s a moral dilemma – kill someone you love in order to save billions of people you don’t even know. What would you do if these hijinks ensue.

Here’s the thing – the premise of this movie is very interesting. It immediately makes the audience question what decision they would make and what questions they would ask if put in this situation. In that way, the movie easily grabs you. The problem is that Shyamalan doesn’t do much more than pose the question and go through the motions of telling you what these guys do. It gets repetitive and there isn’t enough development of the gay couple as characters to help the audience care about them or why they make the decisions they make. Therefore, the movie becomes pretty frustrating and unsatisfying.

On the other hand, there are some good aspects. Dave Bautista, who plays one of the strangers, Leonard, is an inviting presence on screen. He can be menacing by his sheer size, but his performance ably fights against first impressions. Rupert Grint, who play another stranger, Redmond, brings a bit of dark humor. He’s probably the scariest of the strangers. I’ll also mention that even though I don’t believe they are well-developed characters, Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff, who play the gay couple, Eric and Andrew, have good chemistry and react appropriately in this situation. I’ll also say that no one does anything really dumb in this movie, which typically happens in these home invasion movies. Eric and Andrew, generally, make smart decisions to help protect each other and their daughter. So, the movie isn’t frustrating because anyone is dumb.

I also don’t know why this movie is rated R. There isn’t really any gore. There isn’t anything visually scary about it. There may be some curse words, but I can’t imagine they were enough to justify this not being PG-13.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

In conclusion, Knock at the Cabin is a decent entry in the Shyamalan filmography. It is not one of his best, but it also certainly not one of the worst. There is a good premise, but the movie doesn’t do anything more than present it as a morality play, which eventually becomes repetitive. Although there are good performances, there isn’t enough character development to sustain interest in these individuals. Knock at the Cabin is only good enough for a handful of popcorn – there’s no urgency to see this in a theater.