KNOCK AT THE CABIN (2023)
Release Date: 02/03/23 [Cinemas]
Studio: Universal Pictures
"While vacationing, a girl and her parents are taken hostage by armed strangers who demand that the family make a choice to avert the apocalypse."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
If held hostage, told that you had to sacrifice one of your family to prevent the end of the world… would you do it? The answer for most is an absolute no and as the film, based on the novel "The Cabin at the End of the World" twists and turns through disaster to disaster, you start to understand the meaning of pressure someone may have in this exact situation.
The issue with M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin is the presence of pressure, the way the pressure is issued onto the family of three is mainly through news clips on the TV and that eliminates the idea of these events transpiring right before your eyes. Are these real news reports or have they been manipulated by a cult? Everything is up in the air.
With such a big “what if” in the air, you’ve gotta stick with the certainties and in this case, what I’m certain of in Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin is that the acting is immaculate, something that is hardly ever said in the same sentence as that particular director. Written by Shyamalan alongside Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman, he had some assistance in getting his typically unusual dialogue to sound natural. Even with assistance, the writer/director is incapable of writing feasible dialogue for a young child, a distracting flaw present throughout.
The true standout among the pack here is Dave Bautista’s Leonard. He’s the first of the bunch we are introduced to and for good reason, he’s the most comforting, the most confident in what must be done and he has an immediate (albeit awkward) connection with our lead Wen. Bautista’s performance here is grounded, never threatening and aware of the next objective - this is firmly one of the best, if not the best performance from the actor.
Sometimes when you go into the theater to watch an M. Night Shyamalan film and by the end the whole thing you realize it was all caused by plants on a path of revenge. Then on other occasions, sometimes trailers before the film may spoil the entirety of any twist or tension the filmmakers may have wanted to execute during the theatrical experience. This is the issue with Knock at the Cabin, having seen a singular trailer outside of the teaser, the film is entirely spoiled. An underwhelming ending? Sure. But would it have had more shock behind it if not given away weeks in advance? Yes, again. While I appreciate what Shyamalan was attempting to execute here and he does deliver a fantastic setup, along with some really fascinating mysterious characters; ultimately spoilers got in the way and even without them, the finale would have gone and went with a thud.