Knock at the Cabin – Film Review

Knock at the Cabin – Film Review
by Fran Winston

Starring: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint
Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

In cinemas on February 3rd

I must admit to finding Shyamalan’s films rather hit-and-miss. I either love or hate them and there is no happy medium. To me, he always does classic horror and thriller tropes extremely well but often overburdens them with plots full of absurdities and complexities that don’t always work. Trailers for this film made it appear like a standard cabin in the woods/home invasion story which I was surprised by as this appears too basic a concept for Shyamalan, and indeed it is. What starts as a very basic tale escalates into a reflection on humanity and the end of the world!

Throwing a curve ball into the works, the targets of the invasion are a gay couple, Eric and Andrew (Groff and Aldridge respectively), who are enjoying a vacation with their daughter Wen (Cui) in a remote cabin. When four strangers Leonard (Bautista) Sabrina (Amuka-Bird), Adriane (Quinn), and Redmond (Grint) force their way in, at first it appears that their motives are homophobic.

However, they don’t display the bile that you associate with that type of attack and despite carrying intimidating weapons they seem very calm as they introduce themselves. The family haven’t been randomly selected as seemingly the group had “visions”! It appears they are there to ask the family to make a choice – select one member to kill or the world will end.

Like all Shyamalan films, this is designed to provoke thought, however, this often happens at the expense of the chills and scares. This is a very long-winded, wordy production with tons of exposition. The claustrophobic cabin setting makes all the speeches even more intense and they don’t always stand up to scrutiny.

Shyamalan shies away from showing any graphic violence which is a good thing. It adds to the tension, and we see enough to know what has happened without having our stomachs turned by blood and guts.

Groff is a brilliant (and often underrated) actor and thanks to impressive performances from both he and Aldridge, you remain invested in their dilemma. Bautista gives a surprisingly good performance (aided by lots of very extreme close-ups which are designed to make the viewer feel uncomfortable).

This is very tense and watchable. Several plot points don’t stand up to scrutiny but overall this is a chilling view that will keep you gripped until the end credits.

Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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