M. Night Shyamalan is an… interesting director. I am sure that I am the very first person in the world to comment on M. Night Shyamalan’s less than consistent track record. You might get The Sixth Sense or Signs… or you might get The Happening. This weekend, we get one on the higher end of the spectrum with Knock at the Cabin.
Knock at the Cabin is a slow burn mystery thriller. While on vacation, a family of three – a young girl named Wen and her two dads, Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and Eric (Jonathan Groff) – are approached by four mysterious strangers (Dave Bautista, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Rupert Grint, and Abby Quinn). The strangers claim that they are there to prevent the apocalypse.
The film has an immediately interesting premise. A family held hostage by strangers who claim to have a higher purpose. Are they out of their minds or do they know something we don’t? It is the type of premise that immediately hooks you. And that is one of the highest bits of praise that I can give Knock at the Cabin. The film immediately gets going. As soon as the studio logos fade, we are thrust right into the story. There is no fat on the movie as it moves along.
A Promising Hook
The story itself stays just as interesting as the initial premise would make you believe. Clocking in at a cool 100 minutes, every minute is filled with a sense of anxiety and dread. Bolstered by Bautista’s performance as the group’s leader, we go from being scared to questioning the reality of the movie to maybe sort of believing him. It’s a testament to his performance that he is at once both menacing and comforting in his attempt to convince the family.
While I am not sure that Knock at the Cabin would hold up on a rewatch, I really enjoyed it this time around. Part of the effectiveness is from not knowing the story. Now that I know how it ends and the reveals, I do not know if it would work. But I do know that on this watch, I found Knock at the Cabin to be a tense, effective thriller. This early in the year, a movie like this is a godsend.