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7/19/2022 • 4 min read
M. Night Shyamalan has had an astonishing career trajectory, with ups and downs that are akin to the events of his movies. Ever since THE VISIT in 2015, the filmmaker has been rebuilding his legacy with chillingly effective small movies that entertain and shock us.
Now Shyamalan returns with a mysterious movie called KNOCK AT THE CABIN, scheduled for release in 2023. It might be redundant to say a new Shyamalan movie is mysterious because they always are. But in this case, we know a little more than usual. That’s because KNOCK AT THE CABIN is based on a novel by horror author Paul Tremblay. Here’s what we can tell you so far.
Universal Pictures will release KNOCK AT THE CABIN in movie theatres on February 3. That's not so long to wait for the end of the world!
The movie's first trailer introduced a family that seemed to be nearly like any other — and then Dave Bautista shows up to make things weird.
This new KNOCK AT THE CABIN trailer pulls us deeper into the story. Bautista's character is one of a handful of people that claims that a sacrifice is necessary to prevent the apocalypse. Can that possibly be true? Whether it is or not, these characters aren't willing to let the idea go.
KNOCK AT THE CABIN is based on a novel called "The Cabin at the End of the World," by Paul Tremblay. The author is also behind the frankly amazing book "Head Full of Ghosts" (also in development as a movie from Robert Downey Jr.'s company) and many others. The book that serves as the source for Shyamalan's movie has been called "a parent's worst nightmare," for a very good reason.
We'll note that the trailer does not mention Tremblay or the book. We'd guess that is to prevent any story secrets from being revealed. We'll play along, and while we will talk about the book, we promise not to spoil anything.
The book's plot is simple and nasty. Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake, miles from anyone else. Four strangers show up; one tells Wen "None of what's going to happen is your fault." They proceed to tell her parents that the family has to help the strangers save the world, by choosing to sacrifice one of the three of them.
In the interest of keeping the movie's secrets that's as far as we'll go for now. (Paul Tremblay couldn't even tell people the movie was based on his book until well after it was announced.) We will note that Bautista's dialogue in the trailer is basically directly taken from the book.
Even if you read the book, you might be surprised by the movie. Tremblay says that "Night and I discussed the book and I answered a bunch of his questions about character and story, about why I did what I did." But more to the point, he says that some things have changed.
"Like the majority of adaptations," he says, "there will be story changes and differences compared to the book so my readers will still be surprised by the film… I’ve always been fascinated by influence and the retelling of tales, particularly within the horror genre, a genre built on stories building off the stories and monsters that came before… Most of me is excited and intrigued at the prospect of seeing my story reimagined or refracted on screen."
M. Night Shyamalan is always able to attract great casts, and he has come through once again. We love seeing Bautista play away from the action movie type, and he looks great here. In a recent interview, the director said, "He's such an amazing person. It's become important to me to work only with people that have a beautiful energy, and Dave's like that - a beautiful human being who plays a very complicated character in the movie."
Rounding out the central cast, Ben Aldridge and Jonathan Groff play Wen's fathers, Eric and Andrew, and Kristen Cui plays Wen.
The cast also features Rupert Grint, Nikki Amuka-Bird, and Abby Quinn as the rest of Bautista's crew. They may be the entirety of the cast, or we might see a couple more surprises. Either way, we're eager to see how Shyamalan tackles some of the book's horror.
All images courtesy of Universal Pictures.
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