‘Knock at the Cabin’: Insipid violent-intruder tale
Director M. Night Shyamalan finds inspiration in the Bible’s Book of Revelation for his newest ‘thriller’
Pro-gun ownership, pro-same-sex marriage, and pro-Bible.
These are the gleaming subtexts in Knock at the Cabin, a stale-popcorn movie at best, from The Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan.
For his thriller’s conflict, Shyamalan finds inspiration in the Bible’s Book of Revelation.
If you belong to a Christian religious group that actually uses the Bible, it is already common knowledge that the Scripture does prophesize the end of the world or Judgment Day.
Instead of the Great Flood in Noah’s time, the apocalypse, or the second coming of Jesus Christ, will scorch the Earth. Preceding the end of the world are warning signs that the end is coming: earthquakes, wars, scary diseases, and harrowing realities that we already experience today.
In Knock at the Cabin, the “villains,” led by the affable, bespectacled big guy Leonard (Dave Bautista) and his three companions (Rupert Grint, Abby Quinn, Nikki Amuka-Bird) preach the Bible’s apocalypse (with a Shyamalan fictional twist, of course).
One day, these “prophets” knock at the cabin where a family of three are staycationing: same-sex couple Adam and Eric (Ben Aldridge, Jonathan Groff, real-life gay actors), daddies to their adopted almost-eight-year-old Asian daughter Wen (Kristen Cui).
Since the cabin in the middle of the woods is tiny with breakable glass doors and windows, you can already predict that Leonard and his gang, wielding primitive weapons, will easily be able to break in.
They come with the urgent message of the apocalypse — and need the cooperation of the family to help stop it.
Shyamalan and his two co-writers inject corny humor into this violent-intruder tale. In fact, the entire narrative, based on a book, is lackluster.
There are plenty of glaringly convenient plot tools. The four prophets/hostage-takers comprise a nurse (to keep the hostages alive and do linen changes), a line cook (so they can eat), a second-grade teacher to pacify the kid, and the obligatory troublemaker for added threat.
The compelling element in this doomsday story is the strong arguments of the skeptical Daddy Andrew, which attempt to provoke the viewer to question the intruders, who, from time to time, would click open the TV and catch breaking news of catastrophic global events. Shyamalan also puts crazy eyes on them (except for Leonard) to make Andrew’s suspicions come as legit.
But, considering that Shyamalan is known for his supernatural plots, again, we easily prophesy the ending and understand early on that the hostage-takers are telling the truth. It is really a matter of putting the viewer in a ticking time-bomb situation, aggravated by Andrew’s cynicism.
Unfortunately, the journey toward the finale does not elicit fear or suspense. It feels rushed, impatient in its thrill tactics, lacks build-up and tension, and is sadly predictable, that there’s nothing to look forward to anymore.
There’s a backstory to the gay daddies. The men are opposites (a human rights lawyer and a Catholic) with experiences of discrimination, in order to help us understand their state of mind during the hostage-taking incident.
The most thought-provoking part here is gun ownership. Is Shyamalan pro-gun? Because the gun plays a big role in the plot. The weapon becomes their life-saver — and actually what saves humanity in the end. Oops, sorry, I gave too much away.
Overall insipid and cheesy, Knock at the Cabin is a more fitting flick for a passenger bus (not on the plane) on your long trip to a province, and not really a cinema or streamer kind of movie.
1.5 out of 5 stars
Showing in cinemas
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