Movie Review: Knock at the Cabin (2023)
Synopsis: An 8-year-old girl, Wen, is vacationing at a remote cabin with her two adoptive dads, Eric and Andrew when a massive man by the name of Leonard walks up to her saying he wants to be her friend. He is soon joined by three others who force their way into the cabin and take Wen and her parents hostage. According to the group, they all shared a vision of the world coming to an end and the only way to prevent the apocalypse is for Wen's family to pick one of their own to sacrifice.
Review: Even though I have mixed feelings about M. Night Shyamalan movies, the trailer for this one made it look refreshingly scary. So, when I came across it on Peacock this week, I added it to my list for family movie night. Unfortunately, while not terrible, the movie did fail to live up to expectations.
The premise of the film isn't a bad one. I've seen plenty of movies about the end of the world but the idea of the apocalypse being prevented by a single sacrifice is intriguing. It seems like such a simple way to save mankind, but would you be willing to kill someone you love to do it? And it wasn't as simple as one of the three choosing to kill themselves. One of their family members had to pull the trigger.
I also liked how the movie used a non-traditional family with same sex parents. The abuse Eric (Groff) and Andrew (Aldridge) suffered from homophobes made it easy to understand why they might not be so willing to save other human beings, even if it didn't mean making that sacrifice.
The movie does have some things working against it, however. For one, I thought it was kind of slow paced. There were some intense moments but those didn't do much to offset what was mostly just a bunch of people talking. In other words, it wasn't all that scary, like I thought it would be.
Also, I think the movie would have been better had there been more of an effort to cast doubt on what the four strangers were saying. I'm as skeptical as the next person but seeing tsunamis, a deadly plague and hundreds of planes falling from the sky probably would have convinced me. The fact Eric and Andrew still had doubts made them seem a bit dumb, in my opinion (I was actually beginning to really dislike Andrew by the end). A little less evidence would have made the movie a bit more interesting because it would leave the viewer with legitimate doubts too.
Not helping this movie was the drawn-out ending. Frankly, the last three or four minutes probably could have been thrown out with the viewer just being left to guess at what happened next versus what the film did. I found myself wondering if maybe there was supposed to be some sort of surprise twist that was thrown out at the last second because the last few minutes seemed a little pointless without that.
Final Opinion: It's a good premise but the execution could have been better, with a whole lot less talking, a bit more suspense and mystery and a lot better ending. It's still an OK movie but not anything memorable.
My Grade: C