Knock at the Cabin – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Knock at the Cabin – In the Woods of Sacrifice: Will You Answer the Door?

What is it that defines our beliefs?  We all have an accord that shapes the way we live.  When we face tides of uncertainty … will we stick to our beliefs in the end?  Choice is an unbearable aspect of storytelling, especially in films.  In this review, I look at the latest thriller from M. Night Shyamalan.  Within this tale, we weave around a mystery in a family’s heart of sacrifice.  Even with a general concept, Knock at the Cabin is an edge of your seat thriller that will have you wondering … what is worth living in this world?

Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and Eric (Jonathan Groff) with their daughter, Wen (Kristen Cui) head off on a fun getaway.  All seems pleasant, until four individuals take them hostage.  With a prophetic tale of consequence, will they be able to survive the encounter.  M. Night Shyamalan is a director known for building journeys through conceptual themes.  Like previous films, he creates a sandbox of intriguing characters that he maneuvers around to thrill, entertain, and confuse.  In the beginning, through the drop-in method, we see Wen playing outside where she meets Leonard (Dave Bautista).  After a subtle conversation and some action-like elements, we are thrust into the narrative of Andrew, Eric and Wen taken hostage by Leonard’s party.  From here, we get more expositional conversation, which lays out their purpose (inciting incident).  Leonard tells the family they have been chosen to sacrifice one of their own to save the world from the Apocalypse.  From this point, the narrative moves through a roller coaster of moments, providing a guessing game of if the situation is real or fake.  On the surface, everything plays out through a lens of red herrings, situational thematic scenes, and psychological motifs.  As outrageous as Leonard’s mission sounds, everything that comes along becomes a message of wholesome thought.  While each hour leads to uncertainty, it is complemented with timed ‘flashbacks’ that build characterization.  The ambiguous nature starts to level with narrative purpose, lifting the concept of religious allegories against the backdrop of hearty sacrifice.  Even when things are centralized on one location (Cabin), everything is a manner of deception.  Shyamalan skills are on display, as he creatively maneuvers with shifting camera angles, subtle visual quips and character interactions that leave the audience constantly questioning, is the end of the world happening or are they just cult fanatics. 

As things head into more dire moments, time seems to be hanging on a thin thread.  As the group witnesses the supposed calamity, it lifts the generalized thrilling elements into an emotional drama of the heart.  The endeavoring shift leaves the group with moments fragmented between logic, belief, and circumstance.  This heads into a third act of narrative subversion, leaving the audience with a climax of wondering if the right choice was truly made.  Knock at the Cabin is a simple thriller that becomes more as the narrative moves along.  Even if things are generalized (to a degree) there is entertainment to be had.  If you are a fan of Shyamalan or edge of your seat thrillers, this is one for you.  I say it is worth seeing on the big screen, as a Matinee. 

Full Score – 3.5 out of 5 (Matinee)

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