“Knock at the Cabin” (US-Rated R)
Cast: Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Kristen Cui
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Where to watch: Netflix
Ever seen a rollercoaster that looked thrilling – you get on it, and it starts off amazingly, but as it comes to a stop, you realize the experience was actually a tad underwhelming?
It wasn’t bad; you screamed and closed your eyes a few times. But you get up feeling a little disappointed. It just wasn’t quite what you’d hoped it would be, and not exactly how things looked from the outside and when you first hopped on the ride.
That scenario could describe about 75 percent of the films from M. Night Shyamalan (the exceptions being “The Sixth Sense”, “Signs”, “The Visit”, “Split” and even “Old”). We’ve had to endure his turds like “The Village”, “The Happening”, “Glass”, and especially “Lady in the Water” – still one of the very worst movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Many of his movies are often so promising, in theory, and commence with exuberant execution, only to completely collapse.
However, his newest, “Knock at the Cabin”, is more compelling than quite a few of his most recent efforts (last year’s “Old” was decent enough, though), and with a fascinating concept.
While vacationing at a remote cabin in the woods, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand they make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. Confused, scared and with limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.
Things are quite unsettling and disturbing, right off the bat. And “Knock at the Cabin” (based on the 2018 novel “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay) appears to be everything you’d want in a thriller, and features some good performances, especially from young Kristen Cui.
In fact, if you can, watch it with folks who like to debate issues. This certainly should spark some great conversations.
But along the way, “Knock at the Cabin” just seems to gradually run out of steam. One gets the sense it could have gone further, especially in terms of the “horror” aspects. And while it’s often fun for a picture to allow you and your imagination to come up with theories as to why certain things are happening, here it feels as though a little more could have been provided in terms of answers.
Ultimately, “Knock at the Cabin” is a decent-enough ride, and reasonably entertaining, but it’s not likely to completely knock your socks off.
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email email@example.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.