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Knock at the Cabin (Film Review)

2 min read

There is always a tension when brings us a new film. Will it be like the golden days of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable or Signs, will it be the dumpster fires of The Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth or The Visit or will it be interesting if flawed curiosities like The Village, Split or Glass. Well following on the from the good idea, bad execution of Old, comes .

Following a gay couple and their adopted daughter's holiday at a remote cabin we find them terrorised by four people claiming that if they don't make a sacrifice the world will end. So far, so Shyamalan. An intriguing premise, an actor cast against type with 's massive frame interestingly juxtaposed with his gentle, sensitive nature, and a brooding atmosphere of dread.

What the film wants to achieve is a question of if what Leonard (Bautista), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Adriane (Abby Quinn and Redmond () are saying is true or some sort of plot to torture a non-traditional family. At times we see glimpses, suggestions it's staged or planned but the film is shot with a such a matter-of-factness that Shyamalan never quite manages to build the question of authenticity that the characters have. The film, unlike the characters, are certain this is all true.

Universal Pictures

Shyamalan, who co-writes based on a 2018 novel, is afraid of getting nasty when he wants to. The break in to the cabin calls to mind the siege on the house from Signs, while there are moments of suggested horror that are most effective. It's also clear that having co-writers has helped his more stilted dialogue. There's nothing as cringeworthy as a rapping white pre-teen or a rapper named Mid-Sized Sedan, but there's also nothing massively outstanding.

Much of the film works due to Bautista's interesting performance. A less daring director would have made him play the thuggish Redmond instead of the kindly Leonard. While and Ben Aldridge share good chemistry as a same-sex couple who are slowly coming around to the ideas but never faltering in their love, while the performance of Kristen Cui as their adopted daughter Wen is probably the strongest child performance of Shyamalan's career since Haley Joel Osment.

While the film can't quite stick the landing when it comes to the ending, we're not left devastated the way Shyamalan used to be able to flip things on it's head, but for the most part this is an engrossing, occasionally shocking and always watchable thriller that shows Shyamalan hasn't lost the touch, and that Bautista is a really interesting actor.

Knock at the Cabin releases in UK cinemas on February 3rd