Imagine you just found out about a possible doomsday and know how to prevent it; what would you do? Let’s keep in mind that the prevention process may lead to the loss of your life or even sacrifice. Does it sound too good for any of you to even commit yourself to the quest of saving the world? M. Night Shyamalan is well known for his horror thrillers. However, with the “Knock at the Cabin,” he reaches another high mark that he truly must work hard to beat.
The film follows the seven-year-old Wen, who, along with her fathers, Eric and Andrew, spend meaningful time together in a remote cabin in rural Pennsylvania. Nothing can seemingly bother their ideal gathering. Beautiful nature, forests, and fresh air. However, it all is quickly disregarded the moment when the four intruders, led by a heavyweight, Leonard, deliver strange news to them—the world is about to end. A virus will kill children and adults; airplanes will fall, and the only way to prevent it is for the family to sacrifice one of their own. Eric and Andrew do not believe in this. Wen follows through. And they are right—what if it’s just wild imagination or indeed something that may have started happening, and the right time to trigger the reverse action?
The film starts with Leonard (Dave Bautista) approaching Wen as he begins to share his plan. He appears to be friendly and respectful toward the little girl. What is interesting is that his patience, tolerance, and empathy do not disappear throughout the film, but that’s what makes it more interesting. His stable mental health and the clear picture of what happens in the world and what should be done to save it are something that appears to be logical. But Eric and Andrew, obviously, cast doubt into anything being said by Leonard, Sabrina, Adriane, and Redmond. But soon, everything the captive family believed begins to shatter, including the possibility that the world is about to meet its demise.
The cast of “Knock at the Cabin” is stellar. Dave Bautista surprises us not with his range of emotions but rather with his relaxed approach from start to end. Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge are quite intriguing as a couple, who surely have a twist to deliver. The screenplay by M. Night Shyamalan, Steve Desmond, and Michael Sherman and directed by M. Night Shyamalan himself, “Knock at the Cabin” is one of the most intelligent and logical horror thrillers I remember. The ending is astounding, and it is so well written that it gives plenty of chance to satisfy the curious audience. Everything it offers at the end makes sense but also allows the viewers to see another perspective to it, which you rarely see in cinema nowadays.
That being said, “Knock at the Cabin” shows that the psychological horror thriller genre is well alive and can continue to thrive if more ideas like this are explored. It’s a slow-burning thriller with some action, but mostly, a game of mind that really takes only one person to realize whether the doomsday is true or just the fruit of someone’s wild imagination. One way or another, “Knock at the Cabin” is destined to be liked by every viewer. It has no gaps in storytelling and is complete and flawless. Everything that it offers is what you would expect from intelligent cinema that knows how to capture its moviegoers’ attention. As for that, be sure you will not be bored. In fact, you might even think and overthink a lot because it’s simply that good.