Film, Movie Reviews, Reviews

Movie Review: KNOCK AT THE CABIN Starring Dave Bautista, Jonathon Groff

Posted: February 2, 2023 at 7:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Director M. Night Shyamalan started his filmmaking career with two surefire classic films, ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Unbreakable.’ Throw in the thriller ‘Signs’ for good measure and you had one of the most promising Hollywood directors in quite some time. Unfortunately, his string of good films would end and film viewers would have to endure some craptastic features like ‘Lady in the Water,’ ‘The Village,’ ‘The Happening,’ and many more.

Luckily for fans of the director, and Shyamalan himself, Knock at the Cabin is a terrific “What would you do?” movie. In fact, I would rank his 15th film as one of his top three of all-time.

Here’s the lowdown, without giving much away: A family rents a secluded cabin in the woods for a little family vacation. Four unknowns show up, armed with homemade weapons and some quite disturbing news. The four strangers tell the family that the world will come to an end unless the family sacrifices one of their own. The four claim to share apocalyptic visions, demanding the family to make a sacrificial choice. What happens if the family refuses? Well, the four will kill one of the members in front of the others. Each death from their party allows a “plague” on the world to rise. This is paired with strangely timed television broadcasts. If the family refuses to make a choice by the set time, humanity will be destroyed, leaving the family to remain on the desecrated earth for the rest of their lives, all alone. Remember, this is what the group of four are claiming. So, what would you do? Would you believe the strangers and sacrifice a family member to save the world? Or, would you continue to question them and risk every human on the planet? These are the questions you will continue to ask yourself after the film is over. It’s truly one of Shyamalan’s best.

The director based his script off the Paul G. Tremblay book ‘The Cabin at the End of the World’, which was adapted alongside Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman. While the script strays from the original source at times, if you’re not familiar with the book you won’t notice. From those who have read the book, they didn’t seem to mind either.

While the acting is great, one actor stands tall above all, literally. Dave Bautista steals the show. The former WWE champion turned actor, mostly known for his role as Drax in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ Bautista shows that it’s him, not John Cena or even worldwide megastar, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, that has the real acting chops. No disrespect to either man, as both Cena and Johnson are great in their own right, but Bautista really sinks his teeth into this role. Bautista plays Leonard, who seems kind enough, yet his words and actions will make you question yourself at times. This is a role that will ascend Bautista into the level of serious actors, not just a muscle-brooding comic book character. Bautista himself has been quoted as saying he wants to move on from those films and be taken seriously as an actor. With this performance and his role in the latest Knives Out film, there’s no doubt that the former wrestler is well on his way.

For most of the film, the home invasion scenario will keep viewers thinking. Are these people for real or are they just crazy? In fact, Leonard claims to be a second-grade teacher, while Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) is a nurse; Adriane (Abby Quinn) is a line cook and mother to a young son; and Redmond (Rupert Grint) works for a power company. The four all seem to be fairly normal people, working normal jobs, except they believe crazy things. Eric and Andrew, the parents of Wen believe the group is targeting them for being gay, as they don’t believe the group.

Shyamalan is masterful while blending the real-time house invasion with flashbacks, showing their relationship and the difficulties they faced because of it and even their choice to adopt Wen.

As with all Shyamalan films, the ending is the key. In ‘Knock at the Cabin’ this is a bit different. The director doesn’t allow the audience to think about the ending in this one. He comes really, really close, but in the end, Shyamalan will make up the minds of the viewers for them. From the beginning to the end, ‘Knock at the Cabin’ is a tense ride that goes in once direction. Shyamalan is at his best while teasing viewers with stellar camera movement and tense situations, and he evokes great performances from the cast. While the ending may not be what everyone wants, it’s clear that Shyamalan has delivered one of the best films of his career.

‘Knock at the Cabin’ gets an A-.