Knock at the Cabin Opens the Door to Slow Burn Horror

Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer

Plot: While vacationing, a girl and her parents are taken hostage by armed strangers who demand that the family make a choice to avert the apocalypse.

Review: I’ve always been a fan of intimate movies that focus on character first and plot second. In the case of Knock at the Cabin I’d like to give M. Night Shyamalan the benefit of the doubt and say if that’s what he was going for with his latest foray into the apocalypse, he was vastly successful, or at very least he did a much better job of it this time around.


Taking place in one location this slow burn thriller takes the concept of human behaviour during a terrifying ordeal and throws in the possible end of the world for good measure. A sweet and precocious little girl called Wen (Kristen Cui) is staying at a secluded cabin with her dads Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) when a hulking man called Leonard (Dave Bautista) along with three others approach them. After forcing their way in (they do knock first or else the title of the movie would make zero sense) the group tells them they have to make a terrible choice or else the world will end, one devasting event at a time.

The horror here isn’t loud or gruesome as most of the death is shown either partially or not at all, and for those who were expecting more this may be disappointing. No the horror here comes from the doubt and tension that builds and on the strength of the performances on screen. Dave Bautista absolutely shines here with a deeply nuanced portrayal of a man whose physical appearance is the exact opposite of who he truly is. When was the last time you saw a home invasion movie where the invaders didn’t mean any harm to the people they were…invading?! It was some of the smartest writing I’ve seen from Shyamalan in some time. It’s not so much about the apocalypse but about how far we’ll go for not only the ones we love but for our fellow man. The people who we’ve never met are the people Leonard and his group of “friends” are fighting for, making the horrific things they have to do play on your emotions in unexpected ways.

Please turn your bibles to Revelation 6

That said a lot of the strength shown in Knock at the Cabin comes from the performances of the actors involved and I have to wonder if it would’ve played out as well as it does in the hands of lesser or less invested actors. We know how much M. Night enjoys a twist or three, so it was surprising (and somewhat refreshing) how predictable a lot of this story was. I don’t think anyone watching it would be surprised by the direction the third act took and I even rolled my eyes a bit when one of the characters pointed out the very obvious connection to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Simply put, the performances might’ve been nuanced, the writing not so much.

Unlike most of his work I see Knock at the Cabin being very divisive for viewers and it’ll be interesting to see what people think of it not just now, but years down the road. As for this viewer, I don’t think it’s his best, but it was definitely leaps better than I expected it to be.

Score: 6.5 out of 10

Have you seen Knock at the Cabin? What did you think of it? And you can check out more great horror content below:


2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

Double Tap Baby!

Read More