Friday, June 23, 2023

'Knock at the Cabin’ an unsettling ride keeps you guessing, slow to deliver

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Wen and her dads are vacationing in an isolated cabin in the woods. Wen is collecting flowers outside when she is approached by Leonard who tries to befriend her. He and three other individuals soon tell Wen’s dads, Eric and Andrew that they must make a grave decision in order to save humanity. Is this true? Could someone be lying?

I was excited to see this M. Night Shyamalan movie because I’ve enjoyed several of his movies in the past, but while this one is quite tense and unsettling in numerous parts, I wasn’t as surprised as I would have liked to have been when it ended.

“Knock at the Cabin” stars Kristen Cui, Dave Bautista, Johnathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Rupert Grint, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Abby Quinn.

Wen (Cui) is learning about insects. She is outside catching grasshoppers when she is approached by Leonard (Bautista) who asks if he can talk to her. She says she’s not supposed to talk to strangers. He tells her if they can talk maybe they’ll be friends and no longer strangers.

Leonard tells her he has a broken heart because of what he has to do. Leonard and his associates Redmond (Grint), Sabrina (Amuka-Bird) and Adriane (Quinn) have the most important job in the history of the world.

Wen tells her dads Eric (Groff) and Andrew (Aldridge). When Leonard and the others come to the door, they are told to go away.

Leonard and crew force their way in and tie Eric and Andrew to chairs. They each introduce themselves.

The way this possible invasion is slowly taking place, is one of the movie’s most unsettling, but beneficial characteristics. Four strangers force their way into a home and are so meticulous about their process, that they let the terrified party get to know them. I found that creepy.

The group tells Eric and Andrew that they are here to prevent the apocalypse and the couple must make a tough decision or humanity will begin to suffer.

Eric tells them they need help, but this only makes Leonard double down on his reason for being there.

“For every no you give us, we will unleash a plague for the sins of humanity,” Leonard says.

There are ceremonial actions that take place between the group, some worse than others.

As all this is going on we see flashbacks to when Eric and Andrew first met. Other points in their life play out at various points during the movie, sometimes depicting Eric and Andrew being hurt or not accepted for their relationship.

At one point, breaking news comes across the TV. This may have confirmed something said by Leonard earlier.

Sabrina says to Eric they are all on the same side; the group won’t let up; a choice must be made.

Eric and Andrew try to poke holes in everything that has happened in the last 12 to 16 hours.

Eventually, Eric and Andrew break free from the chairs. Things get worse. The tables turn. There are several tense moments and things take another turn.

This definitely is a slow burn as horror movies go. I did appreciate the creepy and unsettling nature of unwanted visitors who are there for reasons that go beyond human abilities. This movie is based on the 2018 novel “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul G. Tremblay. The ending was not as straightforward as I would have liked. Unfortunately, I’d lump this in with Mr. Shyamalan’s 2022 movie “Old,” which I also felt failed to deliver.

One thumb up.

Streaming only on Peacock and available to rent. <

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