Don’t Answer the Door to See ‘Knock at the Cabin’

Director M. Night Shyamalan’s latest effort is an accidental comedy


“Knock at the Cabin” suffers from a poor script and awful characters, writes Ally Werstler.

Ally Werstler, Staff Writer

Marketed as a psychological thriller, “Knock at the Cabin” is anything but. With constant religious references and predictable plot points, this mess of a film turns into an accidental comedy. 

This newest film from the controversial M. Night Shyamalan focuses on the fateful encounter between a family and a doomsday group, the latter of which believes that the death of one of the husbands or their daughter will save humanity from extinction. 

The cast, which includes Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Kristen Cui, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn and Rupert Grint, try their best to bring this wannabe classic to life, but the predictable, awfully-written script and questionable directing mark this as one of the most peculiar movie-going experiences I have ever encountered. 

First off, I want to establish that my friend and I were the only people in the movie theater, so we were able to laugh, cheer and talk about how stupid the film’s plot was in real-time. That being said, we both agreed that Bautista’s depiction of the charismatic doomsday group leader was good and demonstrated his acting range, along with average performances by the other cast members. However, the positive aspects of this joke of a film end here, as Shyamalan’s script is excruciatingly terrible.

One of my biggest pet peeves while watching a film is the script not trusting the audience to understand the plot, thus the screenwriters take it upon themselves to explicitly state everything that is happening. Essentially, instead of showing and not telling, the script of “Knock at the Cabin” tells and does not show. 

A perfect example of this phenomenon is demonstrated at the end of the film when one of the characters spells out word-for-word the big-yet-unsurprising twist. Shyamalan, you made it clear throughout the movie that God is causing the apocalypse for us to die for our sins. I do not need that to be explained to me in a dull three-minute-long monologue. On the topic of this overly-religious plot, the script bangs you over the head with this ham-fisted thematic delivery, which was not what I signed up for when buying my ticket.

The worst character of this movie, a woman named Adriane, played by Quinn, combines this dull script with horrible directorial decisions and some of the worst acting I have seen in recent years. I am not sure if Adriane was supposed to sound as whiny as she did, but wow, this woman was more annoying than Annoying Orange. I have no idea why Shyamalan told her to act like she was on speed, but oh boy, Adriane reminded me of the crack-addicted drug dealer Tuco from “Breaking Bad” — but for all the wrong reasons.

The atrocious script comes into play when the mother begs for her life, saying that she had a son named Charlie who liked pancakes. Maybe it’s just me, but if I were on the verge of being killed and trying to convince someone I had a son, I would make a stronger argument for myself other than saying that my kid had a name and liked the most generic food item. 

While the marketing team missed the mark on this one, I can safely say that they are not the only ones to blame, as this script and directing job are on the same level as a show on The CW. The shots are sometimes pretty to look at, but most moments are frequent headache-inducing camera angles. Overall, “Knock at the Cabin” is definitely not the worst movie I have ever seen, but it sure is up there. For your sanity and mine, please don’t answer the door to see “Knock at the Cabin.”

Film Score: 4/10