Don’t Answer That Door

With Old, director M. Night Shyamalan tanked an elegant story of life, aging, and how the tiniest problems invade our psyche with a nonsense ending. He learned. Knock at the Cabin intelligently chooses what to answer rather than divulge everything.

Knock at the Cabin is Shyamalan’s best since Unbreakable. The concept is to use the home invasion thriller for something grander, more purposeful, and enthralling. It’s also a movie for this moment, steeped in internet conspiracy as four ordinary people appear turned against society by way of message board chatter. Knock at the Cabin spends 90-minutes asking what if they’re right, but importantly, doesn’t celebrate illogical contrivances, rather the desperation in that mindset when those fears are confirmed.

Shyamalan’s precise, compelling style helps Knock at the Cabin grab hold from the outset

The heroes, Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) stare down a potential calamity, testing their capacity to feel for those who shun them. It’s a grandiose religious parable on a global scale, but set in a quaint, isolated cabin, as the narrative questions humanity’s capability to think about things greater than themselves. Knock at the Cabin isn’t concerned with social lunacy and society’s crumbling ability to detect nonsense when presented to them – that’s secondary, the onus for this story.

Shyamalan’s precise, compelling style helps Knock at the Cabin grab hold from the outset, and the plausibility is unnerving. As a home invasion thriller alone, it’s among the sub-genre’s greats, with ever varying degrees of sanity, violence, and peace. Knock at the Cabin, because of those shifts in tone, never allows a viewer space or safety. Another death is always near as Eric and Andrew continue to poke at what appears to be a doomsday cult’s suicide pact. They seem logical; the visitors do not.

Giving his best performance to date, Dave Bautista veers from what, given his imposing form, is an expected brutish character. He’s the definitive star, playing a grade school teacher who loves kids, with a wholly rational personality. That’s Knock at the Cabin’s best asset – the certainty the invaders project regarding the unbelievable coincidences that brought them to this location. Eric and Andrew rarely pierce Leonard’s (Bautista) soft spoken, calm shell, enough to suggest a lucid mindset that’s considerably eerie given Leonard’s beliefs.

In its final moments, Knock at the Cabin doesn’t answer any “whys.” Why Eric and Andrew, why that cabin, why they’re asked to do the unthinkable; none of that matters. Knock at the Cabin wonders aloud if there’s any way to process such a moment, a sacrifice. What’s left is an emotionally torn ending, with but a glimmer of hope.


Opening on a classic Universal logo, Knock at the Cabin carries that vintage aesthetic through to its cinematography. Shot on 35mm, the almost undetectable grain structure poses no risk to the encode. Sharpness isn’t constant, but that’s on the source and intentional. There’s an inherent fuzziness indicative of older fimmaking, and it’s actually refreshing. Detail looks spectacular at the peaks, especially in close. Facial definition looks reference at its best, and that’s often.

In Dolby Vision, the striking contrast carries a marginal tint, but costs the overall depth little in total. Brightness still achieves a perky peak, draping the screen with intensity. Stellar black levels create the ideal balance. Dimensionality is achieved immediately and sustains for the duration.

Equally dense, pure color favors warmer tones. Flesh tones steer that direction, but stay natural. Primaries excel. Greenery in the surrounding forest is eye-catching, as are other hues. Grading favors a comfortable palette, making the end result increasingly disturbing considering the horror angle.


intense music stings slam the room, a full-on bass assault as the drums throb. They do so often. Pounding on the cabin doors bring an awesome jolt. Scenes of destruction – a tsunami in particular – drive the low-end even deeper. Knock at the Cabin doesn’t limit its range in the slightest.

Excellent directionality keeps the audio bouncing between every channel. Action scenes drive the rears and stereos often. Mixing stays in a constant state of awareness, taking every opportunity to utilize the soundstage. Atmos effects are not common, but do appear, like footsteps stomping on a floor above characters.


Bonuses land on both the Blu-ray and 4K discs. Deleted scenes come first, with an extended look at Shyamalan’s cameo next. A 23-minute making of is far better than most studio bonuses these days. Storyboards, a look at prop tool construction, and an insightful piece on young Kristen Cui close this one out.

Knock at the Cabin
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


A compelling look at social order, acceptance, and panic, Knock at the Cabin is brilliantly told.

User Review
4 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 39 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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