[Review] M Night Shyamalan’s KNOCK AT THE CABIN is More ‘Heartfelt’ than ‘Horror’, More ‘Safe’ than ‘Suspenseful’

M Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin promises the end of the world ..and not much else. The film follows a loving family, queer couple Eric (Jonathan Groff) & Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and their adopted daughter Wen (Kristen Cui), who must confront a group of end-of-the-world cultists that invade their isolated vacation home.

Knock at the Cabin surprises with the unique casting choice of Dave Bautista as the lead antagonist and an enticing premise, but overall meddles with safe and bland execution — a surprise for Shyamalan, who reigns as the master of the twist.

 

 

The cinematography of Knock at the Cabin is one of its greatest strengths. The movie is shot almost entirely from the perspective of the family, and while this isn’t necessarily a new technique in horror movies, it’s still effective in creating a sense of dread and unease as the audience watches the family’s every move. This is all the while the film holds its cards tight to its chest. We know as much as our protagonists do, and Knock at the Cabin keeps us with our troubled family throughout their harrowing home invasion.

The casting of Dave Bautista as the lead antagonist is also a unique choice, and though it takes some getting used to… it works. Bautista is known primarily for his roles in action films, but here he shows surprising range, with a soft-spoken but menacing presence that drives the movie forward. His performance is one of the highlights of the film, and it’s a great example of how to use an otherwise unlikely actor in a horror movie.

 

Knock at the Cabin’s biggest weakness is that it plays things too safe.

 

Unfortunately, Knock at the Cabin’s biggest weakness is that it plays things too safe. There are very few possibilities of how things can go — either it’s the end of the world or it isn’t — and the film doesn’t really weave in and out of ambiguity. That’s not inherently a bad thing, but the film lacks any real surprises or unexpected twists, leaving the audience pretty much just along for a heartfelt ride that’s more ‘It’s A Small World‘ than ‘Splash Mountain‘. The story is pretty straightforward and predictable, and the movie never really manages to build any lasting tension or suspense. It does what you expect it to, and nothing more.

 

 

Overall, Knock at the Cabin is a decent horror movie, but its flaws prevent it from being truly great. Its cinematography and casting are both strong points, but the film’s overall lack of spontaneity and surprise keep it from being anything more than an average horror movie. Fans of the genre will likely find something to enjoy here, but there’s nothing particularly special or noteworthy about it.

 

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[Review] M Night Shyamalan’s KNOCK AT THE CABIN is More ‘Heartfelt’ than ‘Horror’, More ‘Safe’ than ‘Suspenseful’
TL;DR
Overall, Knock at the Cabin is a decent horror movie, but its flaws prevent it from being truly great. Its cinematography and casting are both strong points, but the film’s overall lack of spontaneity and surprise keep it from being anything more than an average horror movie. Fans of the genre will likely find something to enjoy here, but there’s nothing particularly special or noteworthy about it. 
Casting
70
Cinematography
75
Suspense
50
Story
55
63
SCORE
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