In recent years writer-director M. Night Shyamalan has found new energy and tempo as a filmmaker and has re-acquainted himself back with audiences as a master of suspense. Now his terrifying new work, Knock at the Cabin has arrived and it will definitely leave audiences feeling uneasy.
While vacationing at a remote cabin in the woods, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand they make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. Confused, scared and with limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.
Balancing issues of family loyalty with stark horror and the arrival of an apocalyptic event, Knock at the Cabin is an intense, sinister and shocking piece of cinema. And writer-director M. Night Shyamalan brings out the fight in this distressing horror picture. Adapting the best seller from author Paul G. Tremblay, Knock at the Cabin is an intimate yet tension-filled watch as a young family struggles with horrific events and the seeming end of the world that draws on every ounce of them to make it through. Best described as a ‘siege movie’, Shyamalan places audiences right in the midst of the unfolding horror of this picture and leads heavily on the suspense and outcomes of the actions of the ‘Strangers’, and minute by minute the strain and suspense of this picture builds upon the audience.
A key figure within Knock at the Cabin is Dave Bautista who steps out of his comfort zone with an incredibly dramatic performance as the benevolent yet threatening Leonard. And audiences will be wowed by his performance. With his colossal figure and intimidating presence, Dave Bautista always presents a certain way, but with the character of Leonard, we find him giving an altogether different kind of performance. Soft-spoken, polite and nervous in his presentation, Bautista’s Leonard is not a dark and savage monster but an ordinary ‘good man’ placed into a devastating choice. His actions and demeanour throughout the film slowly draw on the audience and we soon see his plight and the horrors he has to commit and this instead only gives way to immense sympathy on the part of the audience. It’s a hell of a performance from Bautista and audiences will be flawed by his presence within the narrative.
While not trying to give any shocks or twists away, I will say that Knock at the Cabin is a classic M. Night Shyamalan film, and audiences looking for a surprise will get it. It’s a picture that moves quickly, and its third act is a confronting watch. Knock at the Cabin has a flavour and style that I would attribute to those classic horror films of the 1980s. It’s a film that gives audiences the unexpected in both its narrative structure, characters and horror action, and there are plenty of bombshells that audiences won’t see coming.
For those who need their horror fix, Knock at the Cabin is a film that delivers it with a hell of a punch, and this is one horror watch that you won’t soon forget.