It’s holiday time for a young girl named Wen (Kristen Cui) and her parents, Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge). However, only a short time after settling in, Wen is approached by a stranger while playing outside. At first, the stranger seems kind and friendly, introducing himself as Leonard (Dave Bautista). After a new friendship is formed, Wen soon discovers that Leonard isn’t alone and has other intentions for her and her parents.
Soon, the family is being held hostage by four strangers equipped with large weapons. Leonard reveals that the family must make a terrible choice to save the world and prevent the apocalypse. Now this family must hurry to question the truth of what Leonard is saying before deciding on an outcome that’s best for their family.
Knock at the Cabin is best described as a thriller, a genre that isn’t new for Director M. Night Shyamalan. Thankfully, the film gets straight into the story, instantly pulling the audience in with mystery and tension. This is especially obvious when the character of Leonard is introduced, and we learn his real intentions for visiting.
When it comes to performances, Dave Bautista is downright incredible here. The actor shines in this world of thrills and gives a new and fresh performance with a range that audiences have yet to see from the actor. His investment to the role leads to a highly believable character displaying a wide range of emotions. It’s also convincing that his character would do anything to ensure the entire population is saved and the apocalypse prevented, no matter the bloodshed.
M. Night Shyamalan delivers a visually pleasing and stunning film. Everything on-screen is smooth, and various shots are, in fact, impressive, creative, and outstanding. Throughout Knock at the Cabin, Shyamalan is trying out a few new innovative ways to capture key moments, particularly tracking shots that work well. The soundtrack is impacting and strong during various scenes, including the opening credits, which I found sets the tone and expectations excellently.
With so much praise here, I am saddened to express my disappointments which primarily relate to the plot and storyline. While there are plenty of tense or gripping moments, the story generally stays in one spot for the entire duration. The tension doesn’t ease off, but I found it didn’t push the limits to deliver a conclusion that left me feeling shocked. I was also left with a few unanswered questions instead of feeling content with the entire story and experience. The ending and final moments felt hollow and dull. I rarely think of disappointment when the credits appear for an M. Night Shyamalan feature, but here, I did.
Overall, this film delivers a wonderful experience, which is no surprise given the talents of the director M. Night Shyamalan. Hooking the audience instantly and utilising an excellent filming style, Shyamalan gives audiences a movie with his signature all over it. The lead performance from Dave Bautista is fantastic, impressive, and fresh. However, with so much praise, I am saddened to say that the most significant issues are related to the storyline. The tension doesn’t raise the bar or go to the next level, and the ending and finale moments are a weaker aspect. I couldn’t help but desire a more significant conclusion. However, thankfully despite these weaker aspects, it’s still another great instalment from one of my all-time favourite directors.