Where to watch it? In theaters now but will most likely end up on Peacock like other releases from Universal
Starring: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint
Directed by: M Night Shyamalan
Intro: Knock at the Cabin Review
Upon exiting a movie theater, there are some movies that I have an immediate opinion of. This was not one of those films.
With a multilayered story that touches on religious themes, I needed some time to really marinate on what this movie was trying to say.
M. Night Shyamalan is a director whose work has been viewed as hit-or-miss so I wanted to give his latest movie its fair shake. Thus, after mulling it over for a few days, I think I now have a more solid foundation for my opinion on this film.
But first let's cover what Knock at the Cabin is all about.
Please note, that while this review does not spoil the ending, the nature of this story might be better if you go into it knowing as little about the movie as possible.
A Cabin to Die For
The film follows a married same-sex couple, Eric and Andrew (played by Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge, respectively), who vacation at a secluded cabin with their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui).
Since this is a horror film, of course, things don’t go as planned once they stay in a creepy, secluded location. Four strangers show up at their cabin brandishing weapons and demand to talk to the family.
This group is led by a man named Leonard (played by Dave Bautista). We find out that they claim to have seen visions about a series of apocalyptic events that can only be stopped if someone in the family of three (the men and their daughter) chooses to kill another family member as a sacrifice. If they fail to choose, everyone else on Earth will die.
Although both fathers are initially skeptical of these claims, a series of seemingly coincidental happenings makes Eric begin to question if the coming apocalypse is real.
The End is Nigh
This journey that the two men go on is one the audience will take as well. You’ll question if what these strange forest-dwellers say is nonsense or part of something that could be true.
Since this is a film from M. Night Shyamalan, I kept wondering if one of his signature twist endings would sneak up on me, serving to either blow my mind or frustrate me once again.
I won’t say how this movie ends, but I will say your reaction to it will likely be influenced by your religious perspective. This film is heavy on the religious metaphors, at times even explicitly stating what certain things represent (the four cabin knockers are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in case you didn’t get it).
If you aren’t in the mood for a deep dive into eschatology, however, the movie works pretty well on the surface level as a tale of a family’s attempt to survive despite a violent threat. The cast members all do a fantastic job with Bautista further cementing his movie star status.
Groff and Aldridge play a believable couple with terrific chemistry (and if you need further proof of Aldridge’s acting chops, I dare you not to cry as you watch Spoiler Alert).
The fact that a wide-release horror film from a major director chooses to center its plot around a married gay couple is a notable milestone. And while this is not a film about homophobic violence per se, it’s hard to see a gay couple at the center of a religious parable without recognizing a possible subtext.
Final Thoughts: Knock at the Cabin Review
I left the theater with my head swirling with my own thoughts on a belief in a higher power, religious-based violence, and sexuality. As a gay man, I was intrigued by the film’s representation of the LGBTQ community. I did have some mixed feelings, though, about what I thought it was (possibly) trying to say about the community, or at minimum, how the film could be interpreted.
Ultimately, I see this film as a mirror that reflects the darkest elements of Christian theology and challenges the viewer to consider their implications.
Which is to say, it’s not necessarily a fun movie. It challenges the audience and expects you to do some work to interpret your own meaning behind its plot line.
Knock at the Cabin may leave its audience divided but I consider it one of Shyamalan’s better films. The movie may lack the subtlety of more finely crafted horror classics that try to speak something through metaphor, but it’s still worth a trip to the cabin.