Mild spoilers ahead.
Knock at the Cabin is the latest entry from M. Night Shyamalan, a filmmaker I find to be very hit and miss. I love some of his work, but then some of his attempts I think have been pretty poor. Nevertheless, I found the trailers for Knock at the Cabin intriguing and it had my attention, so I popped down to the cinema last week in the hope I was about to witness another Shyamalan hit. Unfortunately, I left disappointed.
When seven-year old Wen (Kristen Cui) is on vacation with her parents Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) in a remote cabin in a rural setting, she is approached by a stranger called Leonard (Dave Bautista) who attempts to befriend her and warns her that he needs her family’s help to save the world. The family is soon taken hostage by Leonard and his accomplices Sabrina, Adriane and Redmond. (played by Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn and Rupert Grint respectively) They explain that they have had visions of the apocalypse and the only way to stop it is for the family to willingly sacrifice one of their own.
It’s an interesting premise and the film wastes no time whatsoever in getting going, the early moments are incredibly tense and it has the audience guessing as to what is really going on. As things begin to unfold it does get rather chilling, mostly thanks to Dave Bautista’s fantastic performance as the peaceful but creep Leonard, who you can never really read as a person which makes him all the more settling.
However, my interested quickly waned as the film went on and the plot progressed, without delving too far in to spoiler territory, as the story went on I was expecting revelations, twists and turns (as you would with a Shyamalan movie) to keep things from getting boring. Knock at the Cabin doesn’t provide anything like that, it’s intentionally vague and it’s very much a “what you see is what you get” type of film. That might work for some people, but it didn’t work for me. I had so many questions throughout that didn’t get answered, the lack of any real plot turns meant what started off as captivating quickly turned in to boring, the film sort of just coasted along for an hour and a half before reaching an anti-climax that left me thoroughly unsatisfied.
I’m writing this a few days after I saw it as I have been away for work, and it’s rather telling that I’m struggling to write much more, and that’s simply because Knock at the Cabin was so forgettable. Apart from the strong performances, there wasn’t much for me to like with this one. I’ve got zero desire to ever watch it again and it’s another dud for Shyamalan in my opinion!
I give Knock at the Cabin a 4.5/10.