Based off the book The Cabin at the End of the World, M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin is a captivating psychological thriller. The film revolves around a family consisting of husband duo Andrew and Eric (Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff), as well as their 7- year old adoptive daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) who are all enjoying a peaceful vacation at a secluded cabin. But their tranquility is interrupted by the arrival of four mysterious visitors who claim to be on a mission to save the world and, in order to save it, they need the three of them to pick one to be sacrificed. The movie offers a haunting and intense experience that will have you confused on the true motives of these strangers and will stick with you long after the credits roll.
The premise is an interesting one. The four strangers, who claim to never have met in person before, are saying that Andrew, Eric, and Gwendoline have to willingly choose a member of their family to die in order to save the world from “natural” disasters that are threatening to destroy the planet. This obviously being very hard to believe as they offer no proof and claim to have all had visions of the world ending, if they don’t choose a sacrifice. As he attempts to understand what’s happening, Andrew claims that this was likely a targeted attack because they’re a same-sex couple. The strangers, of course, claim that they had no idea who would be at this cabin at all and it was probably random why they were chosen.
As the story progresses, the characters are faced with challenging moral and ethical questions about what they believe and what they are willing to do to survive. This style of storytelling challenges the audience to ask themselves what they would do in this situation as it could have been anyone. (And, of course, the biggest question is are they lying or not.) Furthermore, Cabin also explores the theme of faith and belief through the lens of fear, as the characters struggle to determine what is real and what is imagined. If not real, the answer is simple. Nobody should be sacrificed and our three protagonists must convince these strangers that they are having a psychotic break. But, if real, then the question becomes ‘who should die’ (and, frankly, is humanity even worth saving).
The film boasts exceptional performances from its cast, particularly its four visitors Leonard (Dave Bautista), Adriane (Abby Quinn), Redmond (Rupert Grint), and Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), who are portrayed with incredible depth and nuance, making the audience question their motives and beliefs. In addition, parents Andrew and Eric, are also well-written and fleshed out, exploring the challenges of growing up gay in America. Wen, their young daughter, adds a perspective of innocence so greatly needed to contrast the horrific events of the film.
In conclusion, Knock at the Cabin is a slow-burning, tension-filled, and emotionally charged film that will leave a lasting impact on the audience. With its outstanding cast, stunning cinematography, and thought-provoking narrative, it is a must-see for fans of psychological thrillers and M. Night.
Knock at the Cabin is available in theatres on Friday, February 3rd, 2023.