M. Night Shyamalan is officially back.
He’s helmed some solid movies lately, and this is another one.
“Knock at the Cabin” is based one someone else’s work – namely, author Paul Tremblay’s “The Cabin at the End of the World.” It has Shyamalan’s atmosphere, but not the twist ending his fans – and I’m among them – expect.
Without going into too much detail so I can prevent spoilers, the woefully under-seen “Take Shelter” is in this film’s cinematic DNA.
The story starts as a not-so-simple home-invasion story.. Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge play a couple with an adopted daughter, Wen (Kristen Cui.) The three are on vacation at a cabin out in the woods when a fellow named Leonard (Dave Bautista) approaches Wen outdoors.
He seems friendly enough, but things take a turn for the sinister pretty quickly.
He brings with him three other people (including Redmond, played by a very grownup Rupert Grint) who bring weapons along with them. The intruders terrify the little family while Leonard keeps talking about the importance of making a decision – whatever that means – and how time is running out. The four are messengers, Leonard claims, and they are on hand to announce that one member of the invaded family must serve as a sacrifice.
Who ARE these people? Are they members of some cult who share a delusion? Do they mean what they say about sacrifice?
You – along with the family members – will be trying to figure that out as the pace picks up speed in this film that transcends genre.
The performances are enjoyable all the way around while you may ask yourself just what the heck you would do if you found yourself in this quandary.
The final few seconds are unexpected, simple and powerful, and express a lot without the use of dialogue.
Shyamalan fans, and those with a Christian background, probably will enjoy this more than newcomers to his movies.
Rated: R for foul language and violence.
Running time: 100 minutes.
At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.
Watch the trailer here.