REVIEW: M. Night Shyamalan’s new film is jolting yet intriguing, epitomizing the perfect blend of religious symbolism, thrill of the horror genre as a whole

It all begins with an ominous knock at the door of a cabin in the middle of the woods.

Renowned filmmaker and director M. Night Shyamalan, known for films such as “The Sixth Sense”, “Split” and his previous film “Old”, has shocked audiences once again with his new horrifying and symbolic work “Knock at the Cabin”. The film had a budget of $20 million, and it is based on author Paul G. Tremblay’s novel “The Cabin at the End of the World,” originally published on June 26, 2018.

“Knock at the Cabin” takes place in rural Pennsylvania, but has flashbacks to certain important events in time. Wen (Kristen Cui) and her fathers Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) are on vacation and are very excited as they drive to their cabin which is near a pristine lake situated in the wilderness of Pennsylvania. However, the family’s tranquil and relaxing vacation abruptly halts when a mysterious man named Leonard (Dave Bautista) shows up a the cabin’s front door with three other armed intruders, Redmond (Rupert Grint), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Adriane (Abby Quinn).

After breaking into the cabin and holding the family hostage, Leonard and his “colleagues” explain to the family that this kind of encounter has happened before in history. Unfortunately, the reasoning behind this is that the fate of the world is at stake. Leonard tells Eric, Andrew and Wen that he and the intruders are here to prevent the Apocalypse and that the family must make the unforgivable choice of murdering one of their own in order to prevent it. However, if they fail to execute this decision, then the rest of the world will suffer and eventually end from their failure to carry out their decision.

At first, “Knock at the Cabin” seems to be about four violent strangers holding a family against their will in order to carry out a deluded prophecy that they firmly believe in. However, this film has strong ties to the Book of Revelation and makes several allusions to biblical figures and concepts. It should be duly noted that this film is heavily symbolic and deals with complicated issues regarding free will, judgment, prejudice, innocence, selflessness and faith.

Night Shyamalan has made films in the past, such as “Signs” and “The Happening” that deal with the demise of humanity, but “Knock at the Cabin” takes this realization to the next level with thematic symbolism and graphic scenes of violence and mayhem to accompany it. Although Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge and Kristen Cui are the characters that we tend to empathize with during the film, it is Dave Bautista that owns the spotlight in this film. Bautista is a former WWE wrestler now actor who is famous for his roles as Drax the Destroyer in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and other Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Glossu Rabban in “Dune” and comedy films such as “Stuber” and the Amazon Original “My Spy”. However, his role as Leonard in “Knock at the Cabin” is by far the best performance of his career. Even the camera and film editing were drastically different from Shyamalan’s previous movies considering that production utilized 35-millimeter film cameras, lenses and other equipment dating from the 1990s to create a vintage effect for the film, and even the camera techniques used were unique in their own right in respect to the film. Because of the vintage scenery and unique camera techniques used along with the dark and mysterious nature of the film as a whole with its outstanding references and motifs throughout the plot, this film proudly deserves five out of five goats.

The streaming rights for “Knock at the Cabin” are still pending once the film exits theaters. This film may possibly be available on streaming platforms such as HBO Max since other M. Night Shyamalan films such as “Signs” and “Old” are currently streaming there. However, given the notoriously chilling nature of this new film, as well as Shyamalan’s previous works, it is highly recommended that you should watch this movie on the big screen at your nearest theater.

If you decide to go see this new movie and are familiar with M. Night Shyamalan’s acting roles in his films, then be on the lookout for his cameo in this frightening masterpiece of a film that has come knocking on the doors of many theaters. Feel free to comment if you saw Shyamalan’s cameo or if you had a favorite scene during the movie!