“Knock At The Cabin” Is A Question Of Selfishness

What would you do?

M. Night Shyamalan has made a name for himself as a director. And with titles like “The Sixth Sense,” “Split,” and “Signs” filling up his resume, there’s no question as to why. His latest film, “Knock at the Cabin” falls comfortably in his roster of mind-playing movies.

“Knock at the Cabin” follows a same-sex couple, Andrew and Eric, and their adopted child, Wen. The three are spending some vacation days in a cabin, which—unfortunately for them—falls out of cellphone reception. One morning, a group of four force themselves into the cabin, claiming that the family must sacrifice one of them to stop the world from ending.

What follows is a cycle of declines, followed by news clips of natural disasters that make Andrew and Eric re-think their answers. Ultimately, they come to the realization that they do need to make a decision. Do they stay together as family even if it means the fall of humankind? Or do they make the ultimate sacrifice to save the very people who taunted and tormented them their entire life?

Andrew is played by Jonathan Groff, Eric by Ben Aldridge and Wen by Kristen Cui. The group of doomsday stoppers is led by Dave Bautista’s Leonard, and includes Rupert Grint’s Redmond, Abby Quinn’s Adriane and Nikki Amuka-Bird’s Sabrina.

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The acting in this film is worth a mention. Bautista leads the pack with his performance; we finally see him beyond his muscleman trope, and he’s effective as the soft and intelligent Leonard. Groff and Aldridge make a convincing couple, willing to do anything for each other and incredibly protective of Cui’s endearing Wen. The supporting cast of Grint, Quinn and Amuka-Bird, despite their limited time on screen, shine just as brightly.

But the narrative wouldn’t shine through if it wasn’t for the little details. “Knock at the Cabin” is mostly filed with close-ups of its characters and their environment, adding to the frustration its audience feels as the movie plays on. The wide shots are saved only to give viewers the strange reminder that—yes—these things are actually happening. There are mountain-high tsunamis, child-killing viruses, planes falling down from the sky, and lightning strikes starting forest fires.

The music might as well be another player, too. Hitting just the right notes at just the right times, it’s almost as if the soundtrack cues the audience to what they should feel: fear, doubt, panic, love, hopelessness.


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But more than anything, “Knock at the Cabin” effectively gives its point across; it makes its audience consider what they would do in that situation. What would you, if you had to make the unfortunate choice, choose to do? Would you sacrifice someone you love for everyone else?

Banner Image Paulo Correa

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