For some reason I can’t remember the name of this movie. Knock at the Door? Knock at the Cabin Door?
Something about the title “Knock at the Cabin” just feels off to me.
Anyway, in my review for Avatar 2: Free Willy 5, I said I was done with going to theaters after the terrible experience I had. Well, maybe that was a lie. Especially after getting a bunch of trailers for movies all coming out in March.
Anyone want to guess how many people were in the theater this time around to see Knock at the Cabin?
Just one other person. Hey, at least they didn’t bring their screaming baby this time.
Except for Old, which I hated, I think I’ve seen every M. Night Shyamalan movie in theaters. It’s almost become a tradition at this point. I don’t know why Old was the exception. Maybe because of COVID?
Well now M. Night Shyamalan is back and with a much better film. Though I was left slightly disappointed. I don’t really know how to talk about this without getting into spoilers, so warning you now “there be spoilers ahead”.
The film starts you off right in it, with no background or setup, right to Dave Bautista’s character Leonard introducing himself to Wen, who is about to turn 8.
Leonard is the nicest murdering kidnapper you’ll ever meet.
Wen is out collecting grasshoppers, putting them in a jar to study. I’m not sure if this is a school project or just something she’s doing for fun. But while collecting them, Leonard introduces himself to her in kind of a creepy way.
Though I dare you try and not make coming out of the woods from nowhere not seem creepy. Not to mention Leonard is a beast of a man, with fingers bigger than Wen’s head.
The two play a game, a little get to know you game of picking the petals off a flower. He learns that Wen is the daughter of two men she calls daddy Eric and daddy Andrew. You can tell Leonard was not expecting this at all, knowing this will probably further complicate things, as what they need to do might be perceived as them targeting a gay couple.
Leonard freaks Wen out when he tells her he and his friends are here to help save the world. Though I think what really freaked her out was seeing his friends come out of the woods holding their creepy homemade weapons.
Wen runs away and tries to tell her dads about the scary people outside, which they’re finding hard to believe until they come knocking. Hence the name of the film.
Leonard tries to explain in a very calm manner why they are there, not fully giving them the whole story as they still want them to open the door to do it face to face.
All of this is just a formality as they plan on getting in one way or another.
Leonard has with him 3 other people, Redmond, Sabrina, and Adriane. They look like your normal average people, the only off thing about them are those weapons they are wielding.
Andrew has more of a tough personality while Eric is a bit more caring. He’s also religious which plays a much bigger role to the story.
Leonard and his friends force their way into the cabin, with Eric getting hurt in the attack. He gets his head hit pretty bad, suffering a concussion.
Andrew and Eric get tied up while Leonard and his pals make their introductions. Right away you can tell something is off about all this, aside from the obvious. This isn’t a typical home invasion.
Andrew thinks that this is just some religious nuts upset about two gay men with a kid, which is an easy thing to believe considering the situation and the thing I’m sure Leonard was afraid of.
The four of them claim that they aren’t here to hurt them but tell them they need to make a choice. One of them needs to make a sacrifice by killing the other to stop the coming apocalypse.
Each no they are given, something horrible has to happen. But not to them, but to the intruders.
This part I found very interesting. You see, each no they are given, one of the 4 has to die. Their death they claim releases one of the 4 doomsday prophecies, flood, plague, stuff like that.
The 4 of them were shown visions, where to meet, how to make their weapons and where to find the family who will stop it.
Or so you think, as the film throws a curve ball into this situation by making Redmond someone Andrew has a past with.
Years ago, Andrew was attacked in a bar, hit over the head with a beer bottle that left him with severe trauma both physically and emotionally.
That person he thinks was Redmond.
So here is kind of the problem. I like this introduction of another point of view of what could actually be happening here. But they don’t push it hard enough to make you believe it. Not to mention there are more connections they could have linked together as well.
So, Leonard is a schoolteacher, but he also moonlights as a bartender. So that easily could have linked him to that night Andrew was attacked. But also, Sabrina is a nurse, who they could have linked to when Andrew has to go to the hospital after the attack.
It doesn’t end there, as Adriane is a line cook, who could have been working at the bar making food in the back.
All of them could have been connected somehow to that one night, making you believe further that what these four are claiming might actually be this shared delusion like Andrew suggests it is, egged on by Redmond who is out for some kind of revenge for sending him to prison.
It felt like a missed opportunity, as there’s never really a moment where I thought all of this wasn’t what they claimed it to be, end times of the apocalypse.
The first no they give means it is time for Redmond to make a sacrifice. A part of humanity has been judged, releasing floods.
They use their weapons on him, killing him. After his death, they turn on the tv to show them what saying no has caused the world.
At first there isn’t anything. But after a massive earthquake a wave was released on the coast, killing thousands.
That wasn’t enough to persuade the family, as before they even arrived, an earthquake happened causing most of what they see on the news.
I missed this while watching it, but Eric sees something just before Redmond is killed. Something in the light. But he has a concussion, so no one really believes him or at least Andrew doesn’t.
Remember, Eric is the religious one. So, he is more prone to believing their tale.
Next up is Adriane. She tells them about her son, and why she’s doing this, hoping this will help them to decide to make a sacrifice. But Andrew is defiant, refusing to believe a word they say, even believing that she has a kid.
I make it sound like this happens right after Redmond, but they wait a whole day until the next sacrifice. Why? They don’t even show you anything from the night they spend there, they just immediately cut to the next morning.
It felt so pointless, just keep the momentum going, why have this arbitrary gap in time? This should take place all in one day and there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t.
With another no, it is Adriane’s time to die, releasing another disaster on to humanity, this time a new deadly virus that seems to only spread to children. The thing here is, this was already spreading before their arrival, it just happened to get worse.
Even this isn’t enough to persuade them, but it has given them enough time to slip out of their ropes and try to escape.
Since his attack, Andrew has been training, learning to fight, learning how to fire a gun. Which he keeps locked up in their car outside.
Andrew manages to escape to their car, grabbing his gun and shoots Sabrina, wounding her badly. Or killing her, I’m not sure on that. Either way her death acts as yet another catalyst to unleash another disaster by knocking planes from the sky.
Now all that is left is Leonard, who pleads with them, that this is their last chance, once he is gone, they will only have a couple of minutes to decide before the world ends.
So here is another idea that came to mind. Wen, she for the most part has nothing to do in this movie. She’s kind of just there and really kind of pointless to the story. What if she was the one that needed to choose?
As it is, it’s kind of obvious how this will end, with Eric clearly being the one to make the sacrifice. There needed to be some kind of twist. Or have a role reversal, making Andrew the believer now with Eric being the defiant one.
At least make it more ambiguous afterwards where you don’t know if this was just a couple of crazy folks or not.
The other option for how this could have gone down is, they choose to do nothing and nothing happens.
Honestly, I kind of thought it was going to end like The Mist, where they make a sacrifice only to learn none of it was real or could easily be explained away.
But it really wasn’t set up for that.
That’s the problem when you’re known for having giant twists in your films, everyone is expecting to be blown away and taken by surprise. So when you get something more or less straight forward like this, you’re left a bit disappointing like I was.
I really liked Glass, I know that’s one film people are mixed on, but to me not only was that M. Night’s last good film it was Bruce Willis’ last good performance/film as well.
The less I think about Old the better. I found that to be pretty terrible.
The violence, honestly, I could have used a bit more, as when one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse dies, it’s pretty gruesome. Or so we have to imagine as we only ever hear it, never see it.
Even at the end when Leonard slices his own throat, we never actually see anything. I know M. Night isn’t exactly known for gratuitous violence but at least try to earn that R rating. Aside from some swearing, this is a PG-13 film.
I think the argument could be made that we needed to see the violence happen on screen, to show the audience and Eric and Andrew the real consequences of saying no to them. Just hearing it doesn’t cut it.
Dave Bautista was fantastic in this, hands down the best performance he’s given. I can almost imagine this is the same character from Blade Runner 2049, brought back as a replicant.
I don’t think I’ve seen the two lead actors in anything, but they were also good. Everyone gave a really good performance, which is rare these days with an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Alot of the times he manages to get really weird performances out of his actors. I don’t know if it’s because how weirdly the dialogue is written or what. Old being a great example.
Maybe the other names on the credits for writing this had a hand at crafting the dialogue as that doesn’t seem to be his strong suit.
Directing style was also slightly different from what I expect from him. It was very withheld I guess you could say, there wasn’t a ton of his style I could really pickup on. The use of colors for example.
He does make a pretty funny appearance as a guy on an infomercial or was it one of those morning talk show cooking segments where he’s showing off fried chicken done in an air fryer.
My final verdict for Knock at the Cabin is a SEE IT. Because of the ending maybe I should give this one a RENT, but all in all it was a good film that I think is worth seeing.
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