Knock at the Cabin, based on Paul G. Tremblay’s 2018 novel The Cabin at the End of the World, is M. Night Shyamalan’s latest venture and a film that I enjoyed watching in an empty theatre. While I liked the theatre experience, there were definitely portions of the film that I did not like.
WHAT I LIKE
The performances of Dave Bautista and Kristen Cui are unquestionably the highlights of the film. Both of them do an excellent job in their roles, and they contribute the most to the plot, along with Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge, who plays Kristen Cui’s parents in the film. In addition, I enjoyed M. Night Shyamalan’s cameo as an infomercial host, who also served as this movie’s writer and director.
I enjoyed Dave Bautista as Leonard because, despite his size, he plays it in a really peaceful manner, as if he’s talking to children, which makes sense since he claims to have reached young kids in the film, which I found quite entertaining.
Kristen Cui was fantastic as Wen. She makes a contribution to the plot, provides some assistance, and is not merely a bystander. She had a significant role in this movie, which I thoroughly appreciated.
I liked how everyone dealt with their circumstances. It’s convincing enough that I got caught up in it. I was often questioning if the four strangers were speaking the truth or whether they were just insane. It isn’t until towards the climax of the film that you find out what you need to know, and I appreciate how the film’s writers managed to keep the mystery going for so long.
WHAT I DISLIKE
Rupert Grint, well known for his role as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, has a minor part in this movie. He’s the first person to be eliminated, which upset me because I had hoped to see more of him in this film.
My main issue with the film is that you don’t feel emotionally attached to the characters. Despite the excellent performances of everyone involved, none of the characters had any emotional impact on me. I felt nothing when anything happened to any of them.
One part of the film that irritated me was that just as I was getting engrossed in the main plot, the film would transition to the parents’ backstory. The entire narrative is done in this fashion, where just as you’re getting into the main plot, it cuts to their past and then we’re thrust back into the main story. As a result, I wasn’t as involved as I should have been since cutting to the flashback pulls you out of the immersion when you’re just getting into the main plot.
One of M. Night Shyamalan’s gimmicks that I find incredibly irritating is that the characters speak directly into the camera, which is bearable until extreme close-up shots are utilized. There’s a moment in the film where the camera zooms in on Dave Bautista’s mouth and I’m not sure why. This trope is featured in almost all of Shyamalan’s films, to the point that it’s become his signature, but it’s a very annoying signature to me. It’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to see a Shyamalan film in theatres because it irritates me to watch it on the big screen.
Despite my issues with the film, I did like it to some extent. It wasn’t really memorable, but I can see people enjoying it on an OTT platform. I just would not recommend going to see this in the theatre since it has no rewatch value. This film is better suited to lovers of psychological thrillers and is worth watching if it is accessible on an OTT platform.