Sunday 5 March 2023

REVIEW: Knock at the Cabin (2023) Starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Kristen Cui and Rupert Grint

Review by Jon Donnis
Of all the wrestlers turned actors, Dave Bautista has firmly cemented himself as the most versatile. So whenever I see his name attached to a film, I am interested in checking it out.

"Knock at the Cabin" is the latest film from M. Night Shyamalan, and as you would expect, it is a bit strange. Based on the 2018 novel "The Cabin at the End of the World" by Paul G. Tremblay, the film takes place in a remote cabin in the rural Pennsylvania woods, where Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) are vacationing with their seven-year-old daughter, Wen (Kristen Cui). While playing outside, Wen encounters a stranger named Leonard (Dave Bautista), who claims to need the family's help to save the world. However, Wen soon becomes suspicious when three other people arrive, armed with makeshift weapons. She runs back to her fathers to warn them, but it's too late. The group breaks into the cabin and ties up the family, injuring Eric in the process.

Leonard and his companions, Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Adriane (Abby Quinn), and Redmond (Rupert Grint), explain that they've been driven by visions and an unknown force to find the family. They believe that an apocalypse is imminent, and that the only way to prevent it is for the family to sacrifice one of their own. Eric and Andrew are skeptical and suspect that the group is motivated by delusion and hate.

Despite the family's refusal to make a choice, the visitors proceed to sacrifice Redmond by beating him to death with their weapons. The family is left traumatized and struggling to make sense of the inexplicable violence that has been inflicted upon them.

The film will keep you guessing as to whether everything they are being told and ultimately shown is real or just a big hoax. You only get confirmation of the truth towards the end of the film. There is no big twist at the end, which is a shame, but the film does deliver on most of its premise. Although advertised as an apocalyptic psychological horror film, it is not particularly scary and would not be considered a horror.

Anytime you hear the word "apocalypse" in a film, you know you will get some Bible references. When the main characters are a gay couple who adopted an Asian child, you might find yourself questioning everything by the time the film ends.

Luckily, the film does not go on too long and runs for about 94 minutes.

Dave Bautista is excellent as the leader of the group, who is trying to get the couple to make a decision. He never fails to show his range as an actor and is totally convincing as the family man coach who is facing an impossible situation. Special mention also goes to Kristen Cui, who plays the young child Wen. She is an excellent actress and has a big future ahead of her. The rest of the characters do suffer a little by not having enough time to flesh out who they really are. Some effort is made with the Eric and Andrew characters, but they come across as stereotypical and bland, making it hard to care for either one. Luckily, the Wen character does make you care.

The Good
M. Night Shyamalan has released some absolute stinkers in recent years, luckily this is not one of them, in fact this is one of his better films, I would put it down mainly to the very strong performances of Dave Bautista and Kristen Cui. An interesting story, and a nice run time help this film keep you interested throughout.

The Bad
I really wanted a big twist at the end, but we just dont get it. I think it does run a litle long, they could easily shave 10 minutes off the run time.

A decent film with a somewhat sbiblical storyline. If you are a fan of M. Night Shyamalan and his genre of storytelling then you will like this film.

Dave Bautista carries the film in many ways, which is never a bad thing.

I score Knock at the Cabin a decent 7.5 out of 10.

Out now in UK Cinemas and coming soon to digital at and on Bluray and DVD at