• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

KNOCK AT THE CABIN movie review

ByTaylor T Carlson

Feb 2, 2023

KNOCK AT THE CABIN is directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film stars Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn and Rupert Grint. The movie is based on THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, a novel by Paul G. Tremblay.

Lovers Eric and Andrew head into the woods with their young adopted daughter Wen, to enjoy some quality time together. But they’re faced with an unexpected crisis when four strangers barge into their cabin, armed with weapons and offering an ultimatum – their family must sacrifice one member to prevent the apocalypse. If they take too long, their captors will sacrifice themselves with each death unleashing a new plague, culminating in the world’s end. Are their words and mysterious visions the truth, or will a sacrifice truly need to be made to prevent doomsday?

It’s been a long and interesting ride for M. Night Shyamalan as a filmmaker, with multiple decades having passed since his mainstream breakthrough with THE SIXTH SENSE way back in 1999. Love him or hate him, his style of moviemaking has long been popular and the subject of many debates. This moviegoer was certainly curious to see his latest cinematic effort, KNOCK AT THE CABIN, which apparently offered a small-scale story with potential global consequences. Ultimately, it’s one of the director’s most effective films in years, with fantastic performances, fine pacing, and plenty of tension. Will it stand the test of time as one of his best? Only the passage of years will tell on that end.

Right from the get-go, KNOCK AT THE CABIN impresses with its cast. The film revolves around two lovers portrayed by Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff. Same-sex couples are often used in films as a gimmick or punchline, but I’m happy to announce these two play a convincing, loving couple that, while genuinely caring for one another, have contrasting personalities and conflicts among themselves when sells the story in the best way possible. Their daughter is portrayed by Kristen Cui, who may very well be the most adorable child ever featured on the big screen, but one who brings a nice mix of sass and innocence to this role. Here’s hoping she’ll have a big career ahead of her.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the foursome of cabin invaders. Their ranks include Dave Bautista (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, SPECTRE) who manages to show off enough range that, despite what he has to do, never quite comes off as a “villain” yet certainly remains imposing. The remainder of the group includes cast members who give performances that are nearly as effective with multi-tiered personalities and backstories. A story revolving around potential disasters of Biblical proportions could descend into camp and a one-dimensional farce, but these four are convincing at what they do. Despite what they must do and demand, each one of them still manages to come across as sympathetic. That’s no easy task.

Pacing and the mood of the film are all handled exceptionally well. Right from the first scene, Shyamalan’s scene uses eerie close-ups of faces where one can see every single deal, and Dutch angles to create a sense of disorientation. These techniques continue throughout the movie, yet they never feel like unnecessary gimmicks. The film clocks in at only around 100 minutes, and wastes no time. While told in chronological order, we do witness flashbacks establishing the lovers’ lives prior to the story in the film, seeing how their feelings for one another are truly strong, but how their existence has not been without conflict and hardship. It’s so nice to get a movie that clocks in substantially under the two-hour mark, yet has all the development and depth of a longer film. While there are scenes of violence, they’re often narrowly “off camera” and the movie focuses more on mood at atmosphere, which remains one of its greatest strengths.

While I’ll be the first to admit this film won’t be to everyone’s tastes, for the most part it doesn’t have any major flaws. Fans expecting one of Shyamalan’s major plot twists that changes their interpretation of the tale on repeat viewings might be a bit let down by the developments later in the film (or lack thereof), but it’s still an engaging tale that’ll keep the viewer guessing. High recommendations for what’s easily Mr. Shyamalan’s strongest film in many years.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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