The Dark Psychological Thriller From Notorious Director Twists Your Brain Into Knots

By Britta DeVore | Published

Thriller and horror director M. Night Shyamalan first completely obliterated our minds back in 1999 with the Academy Award multi-nominated film, The Sixth Sense. Since then, the filmmaker has been chasing the high of his breakthrough hit with an impressive list of similar thought-provoking and twist-filled titles, including Signs, The Village, Split, and Old, with his latest production, 2023’s Knock at the Cabin now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Though the movie may have been mostly a hit or miss among fans and critics, its plot had all the markings of a trippy, thrill-filled, Shyamalan-conducted ride.

Knock At The Cabin Was Adapted From A Hit Novel

Turning to the pages of Paul G. Tremblay’s popular 2018 sci-fi novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, Shyamalan stayed true to his source material while also taking some of his own liberties with the storyline. In Knock at the Cabin, Jonathan Groff (Mindhunter) and Ben Aldridge (Spoiler Alert) star as two parents who are looking for a bit of rest and relaxation and, along with their young daughter, Wen (Kristen Cui), travel to a remote cabin in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. As a side note, if the Pine Barrens sounds familiar, it’s because the eerie forested location has been the center of many plots gone awry in shows like The Sopranos, What We Do in the Shadows, and The X-Files.

Dave Bautista’s Creepiest Role Yet

m night shyamalan

At first, the solitude seems to perfectly suit the family in the forested area of New Jersey, but when Wen is outside playing, a hulking man named Leonard (Dave Bautista) approaches her, explaining that he and his friends need her family’s help to save the world. After Wen retreats into the house, there’s a knock at the cabin in the form of four adults (Bautista, Rupert Grint, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn) breaking in and tying up the family. What happens next is a confusing shake-up of events that will leave you questioning who’s telling the truth and if the small family can prevent the apocalypse by sacrificing one of their own. 

A Box Office Success For Shyamalan

Knock at the Cabin was Shyamalan’s first return to directing in two years following his previous feature, 2021’s Old. Because Old didn’t perform very well with critics or at the box office, the director’s following was holding their breath to see if this project would turn his downward slump around. All in all, it held its own at the box office, more than doubling its production budget of $20 million and earning $54.8 million by the time it left theaters.

Horror Fans Loved It But Book Fans Criticized It

The true test of how Knock at the Cabin performed comes from the fans. For the most part, Shyamalan’s fandom was thrilled to see the twist master back in action with a new project, but for those who read the book in which it was adapted, the movie missed the mark. While we won’t spoil any of the details for you, we’ll say there were several liberties taken surrounding who lives, who dies, and the gruesomeness behind both.

M. Night Shyamalan’s Best Movie In Years

All in all, Knock at the Cabin should be tossed onto your watchlist if you’re a fan of Shyamalan’s previous works or just a good ol’ fashioned thriller. While we’ve loved seeing Dave Bautista in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and in Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, his appearance as the menacing yet soft-spoken Leonard added an extra bit of allure to the feature. Stream it now on Amazon Prime Video.