Knock at the hut2023
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn and Rupert Grint.
M. Night Shyamalan’s latest, Knock at the hut, comes on Blu-ray, along with a code for a digital copy. A few bonus features are included.
Like many film fans at the time, I was blown away by M. Night Shyamalan’s film The sixth Sense in 1999. Unfortunately, that film’s incredible twist ending made him a certain kind of director, and it seems like he’s spent his career ever since figuring out how to just be a filmmaker, rather than “The crazy guy.” Turn”. endings.”
I admit I was underwhelmed by its 2000 sequel Unbreakable, and found myself falling off the train. I don’t think I saw another film of his until his last one Knock at the huta thriller that builds to a heartbreaking ending that isn’t of the Twist variety, which was fine but still left me with a bit of ‘meh’.
Based on the 2018 novel The hut at the end of the world by Paul G Tremblay, Beat follows a couple, Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge), who spend some time with their adopted daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) in a secluded cabin in the woods. With Wen playing alone up front, a man named Leonard Brocht (Dave Bautista) approaches her and tries to gain her trust.
Leonard is joined by three others, Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Adriane (Abby Quinn), and Redmond (Rupert Grint), who soon show up as well. The four were brought together by shared visions of a doomsday apocalypse that can only be stopped by one of Eric and Andrew’s family members killing another. Suicide doesn’t count.
A countdown begins as Leonard, the leader, declares that if the family does not complete their task within a given time frame, one member of their group will die. As one day rolls into the next, the living room TV shows everyone what is happening in the world outside their idyllic retreat as huge tragedies unfold.
Eric and Andrew initially react as one would expect a couple in such a scenario, although a rift begins to grow between them: Andrew is the one who insists that everything that happens is some kind of ruse, while Eric slowly coming to believe that everything is real.
Shyamalan does a great job of building the tension as the film’s tight 100-minute story unfolds. There’s not much in the way of world building so it’s never clear why all of this is happening, but I was fine with that. Kristen Cui is wonderful as Wen, and I appreciate Dave Bautista as an actor who can hold his own in roles that aren’t nitwits.
My main issue with the film, which drops it from possibly great to just plain good, is the way it ends. I haven’t read the source novel, but I did read how it ends, and that seemed like a better route than the route Shyamalan chose. I suppose that’s because I’m married with kids and I can’t imagine my wife or I making the kind of decision that’s being made in the third act.
Knock at the hut comes on Blu-ray with a code for a digital copy. There’s also a DVD in the box, which makes me wonder how many people still watch standard definition DVDs these days. I understand that there are people who live on meager means, but the persistence of DVD must mean that many people who could afford to at least upgrade to Blu-ray haven’t. (Insert shrug emoji here.)
The extras on this disc are rather sparse, but still worth seeing. This includes a longer version of the “Chowblaster” commercial shown during the film (with Shyamalan in a cameo role) and five and a half minutes of deleted scenes, along with:
Choose Wisely: Behind the scenes at Knock at the Cabin (23.5 minutes): This is a basic overview of the making of the film, the pre-production and production processes, and so on.
Tools of the Apocalypse (5 minutes): Leonard and his crew carry homemade weapons, and this is a quick look at how they were made, along with the need for multiple versions of each.
Paint a picture (3.5 minutes): Shyamalan takes great care in creating detailed storyboards before beginning production, and this is a quick look at it.
Kristen Cui radiates a light (3.75 minutes): This child goes far, as the saying goes, if it stays on its path. She is a very good young actress.
Flickering Myth Rating – Movies: ★★★ / Movie: ★★★