M. Night Shyamalan provides all kinds of clues in a mystery called ‘Knock at the Cabin’
The end of the world is an old theme in literature and movies, but M. Night Shyamalan has brought a fresh approach to it with “Knock at the Cabin.”
Once again, the brilliant director has created a compelling movie, using techniques that would make another great director, Alfred Hitchcock, proud. As Mr. Hitchcock realized, Mr. Shyamalan knows true thrillers rely more on suspense than gore. And like a painter who knows better than to include every detail, Mr. Shyamalan realizes the power of leaving some things to the imagination.
Overall, Mr. Shyamalan has done a great job with his, Steve Desmond’s and Michael Sherman’s screenplay adaptation of the book “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay. It’s no wonder that “Knock at the Cabin,” which opened last weekend in theaters, became the first film to seize the No. 1 spot at the box office from “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
There are some plot spoilers ahead, but they don’t mention key story developments, the film’s surprises or its ultimate outcome.
“Knock at the Cabin” is about two gay, married men who bring their young adopted daughter to a cabin in the woods for a vacation. The child,Wen (played brilliantly by Kristen Cui) is enjoying her day in nature when she meets a stranger, played by Dave Bautista of “Guardians of the Galaxy” fame. Wen soon realizes this stranger, whose name is Leonard, and his friends — Redmond (Rupert Grint of the “Harry Potter” movies), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Adriane (Abby Quinn) — pose a threat to her and her dads Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and Eric (Jonathan Goeff).
Leonard and his friends break into the cabin and take Eric, Andrew and Wen hostage. They tell Eric and Andrew that the two dads must decide which one of them will die, then kill that person. If not, then all of humanity — except for Eric, Andrew and Wen — will perish, and the three of them will be stuck in a desolate world.
The family, of course, refuses to go along with this nonsense. Then things begin happening. Are they coincidental natural disasters or omens of the end of the world? Will Andrew and Eric be forced to make an impossible decision?
Mr Shyamalan leaves cinematic breadcrumbs leading toward two possible conclusions in this well-acted movie: 1) The world really is about to end or 2)The four people are insane and playing a despicable hoax on the family.
Watch what happens in “Knock at the Cabin” carefully. Mr. Shyamalan likes to create a clever mystery, and as he did in “The Sixth Sense” and “Signs,” the director keeps you guessing right up to the last minute.
By the way, Mr. Shyamalan wanted this film to have an old-school thriller feel to it. So even though “Knock at the Cabin” is set in the present, it’s reminiscent of late 20th-century thrillers, largely because of Mr. Shyamalan’s choice to use 1990s cameras and lenses.