'Knock at the Cabin' Is A Decent Home Invasion Thriller
By Sal LoCicero | February 9, 2023
M. Night Shyamalan has released his latest feature ‘Knock at the Cabin’, an adaptation to the 2018 novel “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay, and is about a family who take a vacation out in the woods, but their vacation immediately goes south when four armed strangers break into their house forcing them to sacrifice one another to prevent the apocalypse.
M. Night Shyamalan often plays with his audiences whenever he inserts a big twist near the movie's conclusion that either pays off or ruins the enjoyment. You can never know what to expect until the closing credits arrive. This movie takes place in a cabin in the woods, which is far from new, and while that may turn you off, it finds a way to twist the narrative enough to keep you hooked.
After his last atrocity ‘Old’ (2021), it was uncertain if ‘Knock at the Cabin’ would be any good. The last time M. Night movie that made us feel extremely anxious when he made the movie ‘Split’ (2016). Now take that anxiety, turn it up a few notches, and let it remain like that from the first to the last scene, that is exactly what his new movie does. The first 10 minutes are reminiscent of ‘The Strangers’ (2007), you feel as nervous and unsafe as our main protagonists, and once the four strangers break in, that is when the “fun” begins. The directing by M. Night is so strong that it may just be his best yet. The cinematography induces the claustrophobic tension as the movie goes on.
At this point, there is no doubt that Dave Bautista is the best wrestler-turned-actor that there is. From a wrestler who made his debut as Drax in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (2014), to a strong acting talent with an impressive filmography. This may be his best performance yet. Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Geoff are both great, and their characters are given a backstory that, while brief, is integral to the story and allows the audience to understand their point of view as to why Leonard (Dave Bautista), and the other strangers, have targeted them.
The score by Herdis Stefánsdóttir is as intense as it is impressive, especially when the home invasion scene begins, it is terrifyingly immersive.
There really isn’t a big twist here, and if this were any other movie that heightens the tension as much as this and it lacked a good twist, that would be a tremendous disappointment, however this is one of the very few thrillers that are better off without one (especially when in the hands of M. Night Shyamalan).
Most of M. Night’s movies do not stand out in popularity, unless it is ‘The Sixth Sense’ or ‘Split’, and ‘Knock at the Cabin’ isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind, but if you are looking for a really good home invasion thriller then this should be on your list.
What are your thoughts?