Knock at the Cabin: A refreshing take on tired tropes.

Nic Peter Chavaria, Reporter

With 2023 just beginning for the film world, M. Night Shyamalan’s “Knock at the Cabin” is a great sign of things to come, no pun intended. Starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, and Kristen Cui, the film tells a very simple but effective story of “Could you sacrifice someone in your family, to save the world?”

Based on the novel “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay, we follow a small family of three enjoying their vacation, before being held hostage by 4 people stating they either sacrifice one member of their family or let the rest of the world die by a prophecy already in motion.

What starts as a routine home-invasion movie, quickly turns itself on its head with stellar characters and performances from Dave Bautista’s Leonard, Abby Quinn’s Adriane, Nikki Amuka-Bird’s Sabrina, and Rupert Grint’s Redmond. Not only do they humanize the mystery group, but show us all sides of humanity, good and bad, and have us questioning if they’re telling the truth at the same time our main characters are.

That transitions us nicely into the film’s strongest aspect, the family. Jonathan Groff’s Eric, Ben Aldridge’s Andrew, and Kristen Cui’s Wen portray a loving family and diverse family amazingly. Not one character is portrayed as one-dimensional. Aldridge gives the best performance in the entire movie, going through so many emotions and arcs that if he weren’t in the movie, it would be much worse off. 9-year-old Kristen Cui also gives one of the best debut roles in recent years.

Cinematographers Jarin Blaschke and Lowell A. Meyer also make this film stand out visually with many unique and interesting shots, as well as beautiful frames and moments. The score by Herdís Stefánsdóttir is easily one of this movie’s biggest highlights, with “Breaking in,” “Diner,” and “Prologue” being key examples as to why. Multiple times throughout the film we feel spine-chilling uneasiness, catharsis, and bittersweet tug-on-your-heartstrings moments within mere seconds without tonal whiplash.

Don’t let the 60% or 6/10’s fool you. This film easily keeps 2023 going strong with excellent movie releases, and hopefully sets the standard for upcoming releases as well.