Watching Movies: Knock at the Cabin
By Robert Garver
Director M. Night Shyamalan returns with this psychological thriller about a family of three (Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Kristen Cui) held hostage at a remote cabin by a kidnapping party of four (Dave Bautista, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint). The kidnappers claim that unless the family willingly sacrifices the life of one of its own members, the Apocalypse will consume the rest of humanity. The proposal seems preposterous at first, but evidence in support of the kidnappers’ claims soon starts piling up.
The film is based on a book, and I imagine the premise working much better on the page than it does here. With a book, the reader can stop at their leisure and pontificate on how they would react to the situation given the information at hand, which makes for a lively hypothetical. With the movie, the action and stimuli have to go at a certain pace, so there’s less opportunity for viewers to use their imagination, and I’m sorry to say that the direction chosen for them is pretty unimaginative.
Bautista is certainly a commanding presence as the surprisingly soft-spoken antagonist, but otherwise, the movie is much more predictable and dull than Shyamalan seems to think it is. I’ve never bought into his reputation as a master of twist endings, and the ending here is so aggressively foreshadowed that I don’t know if it even counts as a twist. My advice: stay in your comfy home, don’t venture out to the “Cabin,” and you won’t have to worry about a “Knock.”
“Knock at the Cabin” is rated R for violence and language. Its running time is 100 minutes.