Dive into our analysis of M. Night Shyamalan’s suspense-filled drama, Knock at the Cabin, and discover whether it lives up to expectations or not!
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Going into M. Night Shyamalan’s latest horror film Knock at the Cabin (2023) blind, was a rather interesting experience. Of course, knowing who the film’s director is, you would expect a huge plot twist at some point during the film’s climax. But seeing that the famous director did not take his usual course of action while putting this film together was refreshing. And because of this, many viewers are split on whether the film was good or not. Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin saw a 2.9/5 score on Google, 6,2/10 on IMDb, 63% on Metacritic and 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. And these mixed reviews really raise the question of whether the film is worth the watch.
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the film only had a small main cast of seven people outside the director’s cameo appearance. It saw Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff as Eric and Andrew, a gay couple, on vacation with their adopted daughter, Wen, who Kristen Cui played. Dave Bautista played Leonard, the leader of a group of strangers approaching the family at their cabin in the woods. Based on Paul G. Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World, there is much to unpack with this one.
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[Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead]
What is the Plot of Knock at the Cabin?
Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin starts out great, with Wen peacefully playing outside in the woods at the family’s cabin. She is approached by Leonard, who menacingly appears out of the woods to befriend her. Naturally, the little girl freaks out when his three companions Redmond (played by Rupert Grint), Adriane (played by Abby Quinn) and Sabrina (played by Nikki-Amuka Bird), approach them carrying large weapons. From here, chaos ensues as the group tries to get inside the house in what seems like a classic horror-film home invasion.
But then, Leonard informs Eric and Andrew (after tying them up) that they are there to stop the apocalypse. He further drops the bomb that Andrew and Eric’s family were the chosen ones. The strange man further explains that they must willingly sacrifice one of their family members (and kill them, too) to stop the world from ending. And this creates a mind-numbing experience for audiences who now must figure out if this group was telling the truth or if they were just crazy.
What Was the Main Problem with the Plot?
While this seems like the perfect story for the famous director, the plot is actually much tamer than many people were expecting, hence the mixed reactions. The plot twist turned out to be that there was no plot twist, which is one of the things that make M. Night’s films so entertaining. Whether it’s connecting two movies that you thought had absolutely nothing to do with one another brilliantly or a silly reveal that the plants are killing people, the director always has something up his sleeve. However, it can be argued that since M. Night was adapting this from a book, he had less creative freedom than he did with other projects.
Another issue that viewers had was the suspense and mystery within the film. Or rather, the lack thereof. The funny thing about this criticism is that the film only spans an hour and forty minutes, including the credits. It is the past halfway mark, and after the second sacrifice is made in the movie, it becomes apparent that the group is not lying about their visions. While this seems an appropriate time to give the big reveal, some viewers felt the group were too honest from the beginning. And why is that? Because apparently, Leonard and the gang…seemed too sincere?? Surely, that is the whole point of the plot, no?
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Is the Film as Bad as so Many Viewers and Critics are Making it Out to Be?
The short answer to this is no; the movie is quite good and worth watching. To touch on the last point from the previous section, the whole narrative revolves around trying to decipher whether or not the group who just broke into Andrew and Eric’s place and tied them to chairs were crazy or not. Usually, it is difficult to know if the people seemingly trying to harm you are delusional in situations like that. Is this a home invasion based on homophobic mentalities, or are these people telling the truth? Of course, they would seem sincere as they are trying to convince this couple of what they believe to be real and happening.
Furthermore, the film unfolds at a great pace, and it feels like the audience is made to bond and care for Leonard and his group. Yes, what they are doing seems wrong and unjust in a normal scenario, but as you realise that it breaks their heart to be doing this, you also realise how terrible the entire situation is. Likewise, this takes place in a single location that seems isolated from reality, ups the tension and mystery elements. Because yes, they could easily be lying and could easily have manipulated the programming of the news broadcasts.
To conclude, the film is well-acted and well-shot and does not deserve all the hate it has received. And although there are some flaws, as with any movie, it is a unique experience for a horror film in 2023.
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- The film is directed by M. Night Shyamalan and is based on Paul G. Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World.
- Knock at the Cabin (2023) has received mixed reviews from audiences for its lack of mystery and plot twist.
- The film is actually good (much better than the hate it is receiving) and is definitely worth checking out.
Did you enjoy M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin?