FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://www.msbreviews.com/movie-reviews/knock-at-the-cabin-review "Knock at the Cabin marks the triumphant comeback of M. Night Shyamalan, who possibly delivers his best film since Signs! With the help of a superb cast led by the phenomenal Dave Bautista - career-best performance - the filmmaker explores the emotional complexity found in the profound moral dilemmas placed upon human beings when faced with life-and-death decisions. Total focus on a single location with persistent cinematography (Jarin Blaschke) and immersive sound production, generating an atmosphere charged with excruciating tension. Extraordinarily gripping from start to finish. The next cult classic is born." Rating: A-
Knock At The Cabin Is A Tense And Engaging Thriller Writer/Director M. Night Shyamalan is back with his new thriller “Knock at the Cabin” and like his earlier works; the film blends reality with supernatural elements to put ordinary people in circumstances that are dangerous and unnatural. The film involves a same-sex couple named Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge), who have taken their adopted daughter Wen (Kristen Cui), to a secluded cabin for a relaxing vacation. The arrival of four strangers lead by the imposing but soft-spoken Leonard (Dave Bautista) becomes dangerous when Leonard informs them that the world is about to end and only by choosing to sacrifice one of them can the Apocalypse be diverted. Leonard explains that the four had the same vision of the end of the world and that they were drawn to save it by taking such drastic actions. They inform their captives that they will not harm them but they will not be allowed to leave as they must make the choice and failure to do so will doom everyone and force the three of them to exist as the sole-survivors of the aftermath. Convinced that the intruders are insane; Eric and Andrew refuse the offer and watch as one of the four captives sacrifices themselves which is soon followed by news on the television of a massive earthquakes which resulted in tsunamis. Convinced it is a ruse or simply timed events to the days news; the captives again refuse a request only to see another sacrifice followed by more news of devastation happening around the world. What follows is a tight thriller as Eric and Andrew learn more about their captives and the changing world situation which forces them to confront a world gone mad. The film is good at setting a tone and maintaining a mild tension throughout as the audience is left to wonder how real what is being presented by Leonard and his associates are. I liked the fact that the movie did not try to wrap things up nice and tidy and left the audiences with some questions about the events as well as what would happen in the aftermath. Bautista gives an career-best performance and shows that his is capable of doing more than the action-comedy genre which he has been playing to date and I hope he continues to seek roles such as this. While the film may not reach the levels of some of his earlier classics, Shyamalan has crafted an entertaining film that keeps you guessing. 3.5 stars out of 5
“Knock at the Cabin” is a suspenseful, thriller with horror elements that wastes no time in its execution. After less than five minutes, the idyllic vacation choice of Eric and Andrew, dads to Wen, is turned into a nightmare home invasion. Leonard ( Dave Bautista ) tries to engage with Wen showing gentleness and countering the stereotype his muscular size conveys. Happily catching grasshoppers together, Leonard and Wen discuss family and future ambition. However once Leonard is joined by his three other companions his insistence and subsequent forceful entry to the cabin makes his character seem far more sinister. Denial and paranoia set the tone as the four invading characters disclose their backgrounds and cult like vision that has set them on a mission to save the World from the Apocalypse. During back and forth conversations and threat of death, love and compassion strongly prevails even after some graphic killing. When faced with the reality of the home invaders reasoning for their actions, Eric and Andrew’s rising panic with each separate revelation fuels suffocating tension that continues to grow until the final moments. With very clever use of the four headless horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the persuasive nature of Leonard, eventually Eric and Andrew believe what they are being told. Throughout “Knock at the Cabin” M. Night Shyamalan’s direction keeps the audience constantly questioning. Are the events unfolding on screen actually real or just cult like paranoia twisting events to suit their agenda. With excellent performances and great use of lighting and cinematography to convey fear and rising tension, “Knock at the Cabin” is an engaging end of the World thriller.
"Wen" (Kristen Cui) is out collecting grasshoppers when she encounters the statuesque and friendly "Leonard" (Dave Bautista). When his three friends turn up though, she gets spooked and runs to her remote cabin home where her dads "Eric" (Jonathan Groff) and "Andrew" (Ben Aldridge) are chilling on the veranda. She is worried, and soon they are locked in with four seemingly hostile folks outside demanding entry. The doors and windows are no match for their rather medieval weapons and soon the boys are tied to their chairs fearing the worst in homophobic behaviour. Thing is, the four appear to mean them no harm - well, not directly anyway. "Leonard", in a calm and measured manner, now regales them with a tale foretelling an apocalyptic end for mankind unless this small family make a very, very, tough decision in the next twenty four hours. Should they not, then we soon discover that things will not go well for them, but do not go at all well for their four "persuaders" either. Bautista is quite good here, as is Aldridge and for a while the plot is actually quite intriguing. The ultimate catch-22 with a question posed to rational people - who love each other - that would test any of us. Sadly, though, M Night Shyamalan can't keep the intrigue sustained and it rather runs out of steam from the middle onwards. Groff doesn't really show up and neither, for that matter, does Rupert Grint. I also felt that young Cui takes a little too much screen time and grates after a while. It's the shortest of short stories, and might have worked better had it just been the hour with a tighter narrative and less meandering. Still - it does ask a question that I'm not sure I could answer either in their position - and I did quite enjoy watching it.
The tender, sympathetic, and desperate performances are what make _Knock at the Cabin_ worthwhile. The psychological and horror aspects of the film are timid at best with the true identities of Leonard and his associates being obvious, gruesome elements that you never see, and an apocalypse that is a lackluster disaster overall. It’s not that _Knock at the Cabin_ is entirely bad, it’s that it seems to actively know it could be more creative, thrilling, and shocking and yet purposely chooses to bury its head in the sand and let mediocrity have its remorselessly bland way with it. **Full review:** https://boundingintocomics.com/2023/02/03/knock-at-the-cabin-review-a-well-acted-blah-pocalypse/
Knock at the Cabin is an interesting premise that has a lot going for it in terms of atmosphere and mystique but fails to land a satisfactory ending. I was pleasantly surprised with the story structure. The movie wastes no time throwing the audience into the conflict within the opening frames of the film. This allowed for an increased focus on the main story while maintaining a decent pace. The first act of the film is great, as the audience is new to the story and the mystery is still fresh. But slowly, the plot starts to repeat the same beats resulting in a less engaging second act. As the film draws to its conclusion it’s ending is incredibly predictable which slightly worked for me but may be divisive to a general audience. I did enjoy the small flashbacks of the couple's life. It added much needed context without taking too much time away from the main story arch. The acting in the film is overall good, but there are some major characters that stand out from the rest of the cast. Dave Bautista was excellent, he had a very serious, menacing presence, but had a kind and gentle nature to him that begged the audience to trust him. This was by far one of his more complex roles in his career and I think he did a great job. Abby Quinn had probably my favorite performance of the film. Her dramatic scenes were mesmerizing and really drew me in. She had such subtle facial gestures that expressed a deep sense of fear and sadness with eyes that could tell a story by themselves. It was superb. Jonathan Groff was good, although he really seems to be playing a similar style of character to all of his previous roles. I was excited to see Rupert Grint, but we do not really get to see enough of him as he is only in the film's first act and when he is present barely talks. Cinematography was great. There were some really interesting camera angles and shots that were classic from Shyamalan. I thought he did a really good job of portraying the brutality of what was occurring without actually showing it. Having it pan away from the action or it being just out frame gave the audience what they needed to know without directly seeing it. It slightly added to the suspense of it all. Although, as a true horror fan, I would have loved to see some gore! There are some very corny sequences with terrible CGI that took me out of this movie. But with a budget of only $20m, I am not sure what more I could have asked for. Overall, there is a lot to like about Knock at the Cabin, but it is missing multiple key elements that hold it back from being a Shyamalan instant classic. Despite that, I think it was an enjoyable watch that I recommend you check out in theaters. Score: 73% | Verdict: Good
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