At one point, a new M. Night Shyamalan flick called for celebration. After the trifecta of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, there didn’t seem like there was anywhere for the auteur’s career to go but up. Then something went wrong with The Village. The Lady of the Water was a real head-scratcher. The Happening was so ill-conceived it crossed over into “so bad it’s funny” territory, and what followed after was a filmography with as many ups and downs as a stair master.
But since the chilling first trailer of the filmmaker’s upcoming horror movie A Knock at the Cabin dropped online, it seemed like Shyamalan may very well be back in fighting form. The film has finally been screened, and early reactions are very positive for the apocalyptic thriller. One Twitter user and writer for the AV Club said it’s the best movie the director has made in years. See the tweet below.
#KnockAtTheCabin is M. Night Shyamalan’s best in some time as he wrangles a difficult idea into something accessible and gripping. It’s surprisingly disciplined, and that restraint intertwines with impressive work from the cast to make a neat, tasty package @universalukJanuary 25, 2023
That’s not where the praise ended. Film reviewer Josh Barton called the film a “ticking-time-bomb of a thriller” and praised Bautista in particular. Josh wrote:
M. Night Shyamalan’s #KnockAtTheCabin is a ticking time-bomb of a thriller. There’s a limit to where the narrative can go but the cast really make it work, Dave Bautista continuing to prove himself such an enthralling screen presence.
Twitter User @CountVolpe pointed out how the movie is fairly straightforward, coming from someone like Shyamalan, known for his twisty narratives. However, she praised the film and said it was a “solid entry” in the filmmaker’s filmography. She wrote:
#KnockAtTheCabin is a surprisingly straightforward apocalyptic thriller that starts with the intensity of a home invasion and swells into something more emotional and uncanny. A solid entry in M. Night’s filmography, asking his favorite question: what do you believe?
Movie editor Ian Sandwell called the picture a “taut, propulsive thriller that keeps you guessing.” Sandwell also took a moment to highlight Dave Bautista’s work on A Knock at the Cabin while also pointing out some changes made from the source material that might not sit well with fans of Paul Tremblay’s novel. He wrote:
Knock at the Cabin is a taut, propulsive thriller that keeps you guessing and maintains the tension across its tight runtime. Dave Bautista is the standout, both affecting and terrifying. Some changes to the novel could prove divisive, though. #KnockAtTheCabin
Entertainment writer Jason Guerrasio, again, spotlighted Dave Bautista’s performance, calling it his “statement” film. The writer also pointed out just how dark film moviegoers should expect from the newest Shyamalan outing. He wrote:
KNOCK AT THE CABIN is dark as fuck!!! It’s Dave Bautista’s statement movie. Love his progression as an actor and he proves here he’s the real deal. But MY GOD is this movie dark!
Asyia I, an entertainment reporter with Pink News, said A Knock a the Cabin “floored her.” The writer pointed to the chemistry between Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff as a standout. She tweeted:
Well #KnockAtTheCabin floored me - Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff’s chemistry is gorgeous to see on screen, not a second wasted with emotional punches, heart-racing suspense and Dave Bautista being just incredible!!
Erik Davis of Rotten Tomatoes tried to ease Shyamalan’s detractor’s nerves by calling the movie “the real deal” and “a big win” for the director. He said:
Happy to report that M. Night Shyamalan’s #KnockAtTheCabin is a real deal nail-biter - startling & captivating from start to finish. It’s lean & mean, and a perfect little edge-of-your-seat thriller for early February. A BIG win for M. Night, IMO. Highly recommend.
Well, there you have it. Get excited long-time M. Night fans because his latest directorial effort might be his best film in years. It was challenging to find anything close to negative reviews following the early screenings of A Knock at the Cabin. The best I could do was find a few that said they had some “reservations” but mostly enjoyed the flick. However, it should be noted often early screening reviews tend to bend toward the positive. We will have to see what general audiences think when the movie finally hits theaters.
A Knock at the Cabin hits theaters on February 3, 2023. M. Night Shyamalan and Paul Tremblay fans will have to wait to see whether the director has served a solid horror movie or a disappointing adaptation. Based on some early reactions, book fans might be disappointed, but general audiences are in for a thrilling ride. Tremblay’s novel is available on Amazon or at local bookstores for audiences wanting to read the book ahead of the film’s release. Also, check out our 2023 movie release schedule to plan your next movie theater experience.