Spoilers would prefer a stay at the beach.
Every time that I describe a movie by saying that it’s not that bad, it feels like damage control. Obviously that already knocks it down more than a few pegs. A lot of M. Night Shyamalan’s body of work feels that way. The premise is always a bit off the beaten path, producing intrigue and then a hint of potential for a wild ending – unfortunately all of this happens before you start watching the film. There’s no secret there’s going to be a twist, so if you manage to guess it the movie has no mysteries left for you. Regular readers might already have guessed how I feel about this one.
Knock at the Cabin (2023) was directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Screenplay was written by Shyamalan, Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman based on the book “The Cabin at the End of the World” written by Paul Tremblay. Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) are a couple taking their adopted daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) to spend some days off in an isolated cottage in the middle of the wilderness. Their peace and quiet ends with the visit of four strangers: Leonard (Dave Batista), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Redmont (Rupert Grint) and Adriane (Abby Quinn). They want the family to help them stop the end of the world.
You know what would be crazy? If you do, that’s where this movie is going. There was a time in which this would have been a twist, but we’re way past that time. Eric and Andrew are restrained and asked to make an impossible decision: one of them must willingly volunteer to die to save the world. If not, the end will come. If they delay their decision, one of the strangers will be killed by the rest. That is what they insist upon, paying no heed to the appeals of Eric and Andrew to see reason, to see logic. And in a very non-subtle way this is also what the movie ignores. Reason and logic have no place here.
I know the book also takes the crazy road, albeit with a different ending but the conclusion is more or less same. I just thought this would be the perfect vehicle to deftly maneuver the outcome into ambiguous territory. In other words, I wanted a crazy ending too, but I would define crazy as when we don’t know what the truth was. That’s not to be. Instead, it goes for the what seems to be the most over-the-top reveal… Except it’s not. The whole explanation of what’s really going on was very bland to be honest. I’d almost prefer a non-reveal finale. Then again, when you’ve made it all about the end of the world, you can’t give people half a story.
Only recommended for fans of M. Night Shyamalan with reservations. Welcome to another crazy premise given before you walk in with a twist in which literally we go with the crazier outcome possible. At no point in time did I expect the movie to turn out differently than it did. It literally telegraphs its intention so many moves in advance that you can call checkmate before we’re even done with the first act. Worth a watch only for the people invested regardless of the outcome.
That will do for now.