Knock knock. Who's there? Oh, it's just M. Night Shyamalan back with another intense thriller. As a filmmaker, Shyamalan can never be accused of playing it safe, most of his films either falling into the very good or very bad category. What he does know though is how to keep an audience on the edge of their seat and that's exactly what he does in Knock at the Cabin.

When vacationing at a remote cabin, Wen (Kristen Cui) and her parents Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) are held hostage by four strangers, led by the mysterious Leonard (Dave Bautista). They are then told that they must sacrifice one of their own to prevent the apocalypse. 
Shyamalan doesn't hang about here, getting straight into the action as Dave Bautista enters the frame to introduce himself to Wen. Extremely polite and friendly yet possessing a sinister side to send chills down the spine, Dave Bautista proves himself to be such an enthralling screen presence throughout. There's no denying he is the most interesting actor to have come from the wrestling spotlight. Shyamalan uses him magnificently in his new thriller, physically imposing yet having a way with words that makes him feel more brain than brawn.

There's always at least one performance that Shyamalan seems to build his films around and in Bautista he has such an intriguing antagonist. Along with the rest of his mysterious crew, Leonard is not posing a threat without reason, making it even more unnerving when things start to escalate within the cabin. There's a limit to where the narrative can go however, whether that's an issue with strictly sticking to the book, but it's tightly written and well performed to create an intense viewing experience.
Jarin Blaschke's enclosed cinematography adds so much value to the film as a whole, claustrophobic within the walls of the cabin and even in its surroundings as characters find there's not many places to go from there. Close up shots of Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge as they sit tied to chairs only escalate the levels of tension, the two delivering solid performances as the couple trying to make sense of the unbelievable situation they find themselves in. Rupert Grint brings a dishevelled and disturbed nature to Redmond while Kristen Cui impresses as she holds her own as Wen.

In terms of narrative, Knock at the Cabin doesn't reach for the stars and feels far more grounded than expected considering its subject matter. It's easy to see where it's all heading after a while but that doesn't stop it from being an entertaining experience. Keep an eye out for Shyamalan making his usual cameo appearance and it's definitely fun having a new film from him in the cinemas. Love or hate his films, at least the man knows how to get people talking.

Verdict: ★★★½


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