Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan is back with his new thriller Knock at the Cabin and like his earlier works, the film blends reality with supernatural elements to put ordinary people into dangerous, equally supernatural circumstances.
The film involves a same-sex couple named Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge), who have taken their adopted daughter Wen (Kristen Cui), to a secluded cabin for a relaxing vacation.
The arrival of four strangers, led by the imposing yet gentle Leonard (Dave Bautista), takes a dangerous turn as he reveals to them that the world is on the verge of ending. In order to prevent the apocalypse, he informs them that they must choose one of their own to sacrifice.
According to Leonard, all four of them shared a common vision of the world’s demise and felt compelled to take extreme measures to prevent it. While holding their captives, they assure them of their safety but also make it clear that they cannot leave. The fate of humanity rests in their hands, and failure to act will condemn all to destruction, leaving only the four of them as the lone survivors of the aftermath.
Convinced that the intruders are insane, Eric and Andrew refuse the offer and watch as one of the four captives sacrifices themselves. This is soon followed by news on the television of a massive earthquakes resulting in tsunamis.
Convinced it’s a ruse or simply timed events to the days news, the captives again refuse a request only to see another sacrifice followed by more news of devastation happening around the world.
What follows is a tight thriller as Eric and Andrew learn more about their captives and the changing world situation. It forces them to confront a world gone mad.
The movie does an excellent job of establishing a mood and keeping the suspense alive, leaving the viewers to ponder the authenticity of what Leonard and his crew claim. What I appreciated about the film is that it didn’t attempt to provide easy answers or resolve everything neatly. Instead, it left lingering questions about the occurrences and what could possibly unfold in the aftermath.
Bautista gives an career-best performance and shows that he’s capable of doing more than the action-comedy genre he’s been playing to date. I hope he continues to seek roles like this one.
While the film may not reach the levels of some of his earlier classics, Shyamalan has crafted an entertaining film that keeps you guessing.
3.5 stars out of 5