Knock at the Cabin is a flat, repetitive, and pointless biblical apocalyptic movie.
A family rents a cabin for a vacation. Four strangers force themselves inside, claiming that in order to save the world, the family must decide and kill one of their kin.
This intriguing premise is based on the novel, The Cabin at the End of the World. It’s a quasi-theological horror twist to the typical end-of-the-world thriller. Unfortunately, Shyamalan adapts it with disappointing results.
The problem is not the cast. Dave Bautista is miscast as someone who looks like they’re from a cult, but he does straight-faced sincerity well that it will make you think that maybe his group isn’t in a shared delusion as Daddy Andrew (Ben Aldridge) prefers to believe. The rest are good enough despite having little to do as they’re moved along by the uneventful plot.
That isn’t to say nothing happens. Camerawork and cinematography are good at revealing details and showing doomsday images. They help liven up the running time as the audience waits for the family’s decision, but the apocalypse is not what this movie is about.
Knock at the Cabin is about the characters and the moral dilemma they face. Unfortunately, Shyamalan doesn’t trust his audience.
The movie suffers from telling a lot but showing too little. It’s neither ambiguous nor morally grey to make the most of its premise.
The body count piles up in and out of the cabin with forgettable horror fanfare. The script can’t deliver a sense of urgency and suspense beyond news footage. There isn’t enough to care about the four strangers so logically, it’s better for the family to just wait until they all get rid of each other. And when the family makes a decision, it doesn’t impact the story until the end.
As a result, the movie becomes a waiting game for the audience until it delivers a conclusion. Shymalan takes the easy route, stripping the source of its lingering implications.
Knock at the Cabin is a straightforward doomsday movie and a poor adaptation. It’s typical Shyamalan stuff though, so perhaps his fans wouldn’t mind paying for a ticket.
Knock at the Cabin
Knock at the Cabin is a boring watered-down adaptation that turns its thought-provoking horror into a tepid thriller.