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Review of "Knock at the Cabin": Another Great Creative Bet by M. Night Shyamalan

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Entertaining, fascinating, terrifying and disturbing. This is how we describe the new work by director M. Night Shyamalan, which is projected as one of the best thrillers of the year. Here is our review on "Knock at the Cabin" .

Still from the film 'Knock on the Door'

Photo: YT-Universal

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: Reseña de "Llaman a la Puerta": Otra grandiosa apuesta creativa de M. Night Shyamalan

The psychological terror of M. Night Shyamalan knows no limits. Many things can go wrong in a cabin, but specifically four strangers knocking on the door and forcing parents and their daughter to make a decision never before imagined is a scenario that borders on disturbing and terrifying. How is it possible that this director, year after year, is able to bring such creative projects to life?

"Knock at the Cabin" brings together all the fears that we can experience not only when we are enjoying a vacation in a cabin, but also when we believe we are 100% safe at home. It's that kind of feature film that tries to escape the traditional mold that Hollywood has implemented in films of the genre. In the end he succeeds, thanks to an incredible synchrony between music, setting, script and performances.

The story introduces us to Eric, Andrew and little Wen, who decide to spend a few days on vacation in a remote cabin surrounded by pure vegetation. However, peace begins to fade when four strangers (Leonard, Redmond, Adriane, and Sabrina) appear at the door of the house to make them hostage. And it is that, according to them, the reason for the invasion is to prevent the apocalypse and the death of humanity, but for that the family must sacrifice one of its members.

During the 100-minute duration of the film, M. Night Shyamalan does his tricks so that the plot immerses the viewer in a psychological suspense that is enjoyed from beginning to end. For this, we must also highlight the work of a cast led by Dave Bautista and Rupert Grint, in addition to the outstanding performances of Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn and Nikki Amuka-Bird.

Existentialist Premises in the Middle of the Forest

Firstly, it must be noted that "Knock at the Cabin" is not a film completely designed by Shyamalan, since the director was based on a draft by the screenwriters Steve Desmond and Michael Sherman. Also, they were inspired by the novel by Paul G. Tremblay "The Cabin at the End of the World." Hence, a plot is developed that presents a psychological struggle between reality and the perception of madness.

As the minutes go by, the different elements that make it a possible cult film are detailed. The director presents a unique storytelling format that manages to capture the audience with his characteristic suspense, which ends up shining much brighter as it nears its conclusion. Added to this are the contributions of Herdís Stefánsdóttir and Jarin Blaschke in music and photography respectively, as they help to generate a certain claustrophobia despite being in an open location.

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With an atmosphere of tension, despair and uncertainty, the heart of the film has an interesting moral element. And it is that "Knock at the Cabin" is capable of making us think if we would really be capable of sacrificing someone we love to avoid a much greater tragedy. Of course, this sounds like nonsense at first, but little by little, Shyamalan drops some shades of painful truth. This questioning is what keeps the viewer's attention until the end.

However, not everything is perfect in this story. Just as the filmmaker is capable of getting it right, it is also possible that he may have some slip-ups. In this case, the difficulties appear due to the lack of powerful and lasting emotions in its third act, since the script explores in a very superficial way the sociopolitical, philosophical and environmental issues it raises. In addition, the shortcomings of the direction in some parts take concentration, although not enough to ruin the moment.

For their part, the role of the kidnappers is decisive for the plot, since each one seeks to generate a certain empathy with speeches that move away from individualism and in favor of saving the planet. In that sense, Dave Bautista's performance is one of the best of his career. And it is that the leader of the invaders is capable of transmitting emotional warmth and an intimidating character, always projecting determination so that the family understands the reason of his mission.

In general terms, "Knock at the Cabin" is a film that manages to convey large doses of entertainment and stress. But not only that, since it inevitably forces you to question what you would do in such a situation and if you would really sacrifice a loved one for the greater good. For now, the most recent creative bet by M. Night Shyamalan has all the ingredients to be one of the best horror films of 2023.