Dan’s thoughts: Going into the movie I was unaware this was based on a book. I was interested in seeing it for 2 reasons…1) Dave Bautista and 2) A movie from M. Night Shymalan. Those reasons being said the movie itself was filled with great acting from Dave Bautista who continues to shine in movies that aren’t reliant on action (such as his great performance in Glass Onion) and the first role (outside of a music video) for Kristen Cui.
The movie itself (and I’m guessing the book the it was based on) asks an interesting question…would you kill someone you love to save the entire planet? That’s the premise of the movie and one that is a tough decision for Eric and Andrew (played by Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge).
The score from Herdís Stefánsdóttir was wonderful and helped build the tension throughout the movie. Most of the movie takes place in the titular cabin, but the cinematography and the camera work in it was terrific and helped the psychological horror aspects of the movie.
The movie’s final act left me wanting more, that’s not to say it wasn’t a good ending but it left me a bit empty afterwards (hence the title of the review).
Oh and there is the requisite cameo from M. Night for those who are looking for him.
My grade: B (for the great acting as I discussed above).
Darren’s thoughts: Knock at the Cabin lacks the jaw dropping twist of M. Night Shymalan’s early work (the best example being The Sixth Sense), but it does pose interesting questions that will make you think. Shymalan places his characters in a perilous situation that leaves them (and the viewer) trying to figure out what is happening. The situation is fairly outlandish, but is just grounded enough to allow you to place yourself in the characters’ shoes. I found myself splitting time between predicting the twist and wondering what I would do in that situation.
The big reveal is a bit disappointing insofar as history has trained us to strain for clues to guess the swerve that often comes at the end of Shymalan’s movies. Knock at the Cabin largely plays it straight. Flashbacks, at least on first viewing, seem mostly included in service of character development as opposed to providing tidbits that will all come together at the end, like Signs. This doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the movie, but it seems to be more of a character study than most Shymalan films. In this vein Dave Bautista shines. I don’t know if his performance is an accident, but he gives his character a mix of earnestness and creepiness that is perfect for his role. His dialogue is delivered in a breathless monotone that keeps you from forming a strong opinion on whether his character is a good guy or a bad guy.
Knock at the Cabin isn’t the best movie M. Night Shymalan has ever made, but it’s far from his worst. If you liked Old, I think you will enjoy it. Either way, if you have interest in seeing the movie, you are better off seeing it now to avoid spoilers.
I give the movie an A-.
Here is my spoiler free podcast review: https://anchor.fm/darren-shulman/episodes/Knock-at-the-Cabin-Review-e1ucofg