Photo courtesy of Blinding Edge Pictures FilmNation and Entertainment Wishmore Entertainment

Knock at the Cabin: vacationing gone wrong

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The movie opens to a patch in the forest, sunlight streaming down, illuminating the greenery with a golden haze. A little girl, Wen, holds grasshoppers in a jar as she’s approached by Leonard (Dave Bautista), a man with a kind face. He presents her with something straight out of a fairytale: he needs her and her family to save the world. However, things take a darker turn when Leonard apologizes for what he and his friends are about to do to Wen and her family. 

Knock at the Cabin is a film centered around sacrifice and familial bonds. The premise of the movie is simple: four strangers trap a family of three in their own cabin, and the family must kill one of their own in order to prevent an impending apocalypse. However, with limited contact to the outside world, the strangers’ revelation treads the line between truth and delusion. 

An element that sets Knock at the Cabin apart from other horror films is its antagonists. The strangers — though tasked with the mission to end a life — easily evokes sympathy from the audience. It becomes clear right off the bat that the strangers are simply four people randomly chosen to fulfill their role when they introduce themselves, barely able to hold themselves together.

However, Knock at the Cabin is a hit or miss. It is a very safe movie, and has little to no twists, initially relying on the shock value of the suicides and sacrifices of the four strangers. One of the strangers, Redmond (Rupert Grint), is revealed to have a negative connection with the family, but the three others are simply strangers. From the start, we as the audience know that someone will be sacrificed, and that there are stakes at hand. However, said stakes are merely told through words or the background television — there is no real stake for the audience to worry over. To add on, the audience has no reason to care for the family before they’re attacked. Context is added in after they’ve already become prisoners in their own home.

Overall, Knock at the Cabin achieves the goal of getting its message across — sacrifice is the greatest form of kindness — but doesn’t take risks. Though movies do not necessarily need to break rules or have a masterful script to be enjoyable, Knock at the Cabin is one filled with unused potential. For anyone who loves suggestive horror, religious elements, and Dave Bautista, Knock at the Cabin is perfect for you. 

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