M. Night Shyamalan returns to theatres with another film and expectations. Fans of his earlier films have hoped for more good content and twists from the director (ex. Signs) and hopes are high that Knock At The Cabin would provide that, given its award-winning source material.
While vacationing at a remote cabin, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. With limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.
M. Night Shyamalan is back with his next film, Knock At The Cabin. The screenplay is an adaptation of the Award-winning novel, The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. Anytime a new film comes out from Shyamalan there is an expectation of a twist. A hope that perhaps it will reach the levels of his early films. However, all of that hope quickly fades as Knock At The Cabin comes to its closing scene.
During a family getaway, Eric and Andrew, played by Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge, take their young daughter to a cabin in the woods. While catching grasshoppers, the daughter meets Leonard (Dave Bautista), who at first tries to be friendly and help her catch grasshoppers but that quickly changes when his 3 other friends played by Rupert Grint, Nikki Amuka-Bird, and Abby Quinn, emerge from the woods with weapons in their hands. From here, the 4 break in and hold the family hostage, asking them to make a difficult choice to save the world. Wait, save the world from what?
Well, we are never really told that. Nor are we really told why either. Belief is at the center of the entire ordeal. Leonard and his group ‘believe’ the world is going to end. And they want audiences and the family to believe it too. But the film never makes an effort to solidly sell Leonard and the team’s belief beyond a superficial ‘vision’. Of course, the family having to make a choice on who to kill to save the world also doesn’t believe. The group’s use of TV news reporting to prove that their lack of action was causing terrible things to happen felt amateurish and without any serious feeling of horror, fear, or concern. In fact, it almost felt like a message on fake news and the idea of misinformation on social media. But again, they never really committed to that line of thought either.
Although this is based on source material, Shyamalan made big changes to the story and its ending. The result? The film fails to fully answer any of the questions it raised throughout the film or commit to any plot point or overarching point. At times it feels like the film is leaning towards the event being targeted, where they have all met before and it’s a shared delusion but then flushes away all of that build-up with the ending Shyamalan chooses to use. The ending of the book was far more meaningful and provided a lot more to think about afterward. In a field of films that have covered these types of topics, there are far more convincing and compelling films out there. Knock At The Cabin is forgettable as a film about the apocalypse and laughable as a thriller film.
Shyamalan managed to sneak his cameo into the film but like many of his more recent films, this one was a disappointment. Knock At The Cabin releases in theaters Friday Feb 3rd.