In preparation for viewing this film, I read the book that the film was adapted from, The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay. While I enjoyed most of it, I wasn’t particularly satisfied with how the book ended. Other than that, I enjoyed my time within the world crafted by Tremblay.  

Having said that, I thought the film adaptation written by M. Night Shyamalan, Steve Desmond, and Michael Sherman and directed by Shyamalan was an okay film. If I’m comparing it to other films by Shyamalan, Knock at the Cabin would rank third right after Unbreakable (2000) and The Sixth Sense (1999). 

The film focuses on an adoptive daughter, Wen (played by Kristen Cui) and her two fathers Daddy Andrew (played by Ben Aldridge) and Daddy Eric (played by Jonathan Groff). The family is vacationing in a cabin deep inside a Pennsylvania forest. Wen is catching grasshoppers when she’s joined by Leonard (played by Dave Bautista). Leonard and Wen have this Q&A which leads Wen to finding out that Leonard brought some friends. Those four party crashers have come to pose a question to Wen and her two fathers. Either sacrifice one of your family or allow the apocalypse to occur.  

I’ve implemented a different system for my film reviews. I’m going to start scoring films on a few different elements (out of five points) and then average those scores. These are my own opinions and if you don’t agree with me, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to chat with you about this film. 

Acting: 4.5/5 

The film has seven characters in it and I really thought that the acting was the best part of the film. Bautista and Cui were the highlights of the film acting wise. Bautista is quickly becoming one of my favorites when it comes to acting because he’s got such a range. As Drax, in The Guardians of the Galaxy series, he can be funny and as Leonard he can be serious yet compassionate as well as scary in some scenes. This was Cui’s first time acting in a major motion picture and she does a great job in her role. Abby Quinn played Adriane, a creepy mother who likes to feed people, had these scenes where she looked at the camera with those creeper eyes that unnerved me. I would have to say that I thought that Rupert Grint as Redmond and Nikki Amuka-Bird as Sabrina were my least favorite, but they still gave admirable performances.  

Story: 4/5 

This was a solid story from beginning to end. The main reason being that it was a simple storyline where there’s seven characters that are placed into one location and forced to work out their differences. There are moments where flashbacks occur that better explain some elements between the relationship between Wen, Daddy Andrew, and Daddy Eric. Those flashbacks are meant to be the filler between moments of high stress. Those flashbacks reset the tension and prepare the audience for another build up.  

Action: 2/5 

The film is rated R for language and violence. Now, when you watch the trailer and see those four appearing at the cabin’s door with weird weapons that are amalgamations of different tools, one example is an axe head fused onto the tines of a pitchfork, you expect the kills to be bloody. And they are, but only because you see one person cleaning the blood from the floor. All of the kills are shown off screen. I’m not sure if that was meant to keep up the uncertainty vibes Shyamalan was trying to exert, or if they were trying to make sure that the film appealed to a wider audience despite the rating. Whatever the reason, not showing the deaths reduced the level of intensity for me.  

Rewatchability: 2/5 

I feel like this is one of those movies that you’d watch maybe one other time just to see if you caught everything. I wouldn’t go see it in theaters again and I wouldn’t buy it when it comes to DVD, but I would watch it when it comes to whatever streaming service I’m subscribed to at that time.  

Originality: 3/5 

While this film is original in comparison to other horror films that take place in a cabin in the woods, it is still adapted from a novel which is why I’m docking points from it. If you’ve read the novel, you’ll know that it’s a faithful adaptation until the third act.  

Post Film Feeling: 1/5 

This category is based totally on how I felt about the film when I left the theater. This time around, I went with a buddy of mine and when we left the theater, we discussed it until we got into my car. After that, we talked about other movies or topics. For reference, a 5/5 would be if we’re talking about the movie (good or bad) all the way home. A 5/5 doesn’t take into consideration if the film is good or bad, it’s based solely on if I’m still feeling and thinking about the film after I exit the theater. 

Overall Score: 3.3/5 

This score is how I still feel about this film, even after watching it almost a week later. While most of the elements of it were good, there was just enough to make this film okay. I’m not sure why a February release date was chosen for this film because with other more anticipated horror films coming out, I’m pretty sure Knock at the Cabin will be forgotten when asked what’s your favorite horror movie of 2023. 

Here’s how Skinamarink rated among the other films I’ve seen in 2023:

1. M3GAN

2. Knock at the Cabin

3. The Devil Conspiracy

4. Skinamarink


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