Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Knock at the Cabin - Movie Review

The Movie: Knock at the Cabin

The Director: M. Night Shyamalan

The Cast: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint

The Story: While vacationing at a remote cabin, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand that the family make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse.

The Review:
M. Night Shyamalan has had a very interesting career with many ups and downs as his movies are nothing if not polarizing from a story telling perspective. One of his signtures is the shocking plot twist that comes in hot at the end of the movie and completely blows the minds of everyone watching. At least that's how his stories played out towards the beginning of his career and I feel like the expectation of that type of impact has ultimatley been a negative influence on some of his other films that don't pack a similar punch.

For me, that was definitely the case with this movie as I felt like the story was just begging for the type of big plot twist and reveal that would elevate it to that top tier level of his best efforts like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Split. Ultimatley the story fell flat for me as it didn't really have much to say outside a bit of social commentary and, after the first ten or fifteen minutes of set up, the rest of the movie plays out exactly as you expect it to. The basic idea of the story, preventing the apocalypse from a secluded cabin, is exactly the same as Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods except told in an extremely less interesting and imaginative way.

That being said, the highlight of this movie, and probably its saving grace, is the collection of performances turned in by pretty much the entire cast. Every single person, from the larger than life Dave Bautista to the diminutive Kristen Cui who is making her feature film debut, delivers the necessary drama and intensity that should make a film like this work. I will say it was nice to see Rupert Grint in a role that didn't automatically make me think of Ron Weasley and I have been rooting for Abby Quinn ever since her outstanding performance in Gillian Robespierre's Landline.

I have to say I enjoyed the movie for what it is although I was still left wanting a lot more than what Shyamalan chose to give us this time around. Maybe comparing it to one of my all time favorite movies isn't fair but for me it was kind of inevitable.

The Verdict:
Knock at the Cabin really wants to be the type of movie that blows you away and it almost is as the first two acts have a fantastic buildup but then the third act gets lost in the woods and fails to deliver anything more than you were already expecting. A decent effort but only memorable for the great performances.

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