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Just How Awful Is Manoj Night Shyamalan’s New Horror Drama?



Knock On The  Cabin

With every passing film, Manoj Night Shyamalan  keeps plunging deeper  into the abyss. His latest film Knock On The  Cabin is  not as drab as  his last film Old where everyone suddenly started  aging fast at a beach resort that Rekha  refuses to  visit.

But it is  still terrible enough, with its message  on homophobia wrapped  in  an apocalyptic plot that the studio probably wouldn’t have considered without the  gay slant.

Eric and Andrew played by Jonathan  Groff and Ben Aldridge, are a comfortable same-sex couple  with a very  intelligent  little  daughter Wen played by Kristen Cui who is  to this  film what  young  Haley Joel Osment was  to The Sixth Sense.  Cui is  adorable without  playing for  over-cuteness, and  she looks  totally as  happy with her two fathers.

Breaking  into this  paradise  are four nutcases, one of them  played by David Bautista. Since he is  the  biggest star  among the invaders, he gets to live  longer than the others.I can’t see Bautista rejoicing over his good fortunes.

By the end  of the film,a lot  of the  cast is dead. This is not  as apocalyptic as  it sounds,  as there are  only seven  characters in the plot locked together in a cabin. This is clearly a  Covid-driven project, a cabin chamber-piece with  more life-threatening weapons than  characters.

So what are they doing here in this  dreadful  concoction of  prophecy and  homophobia?  The  film is  very clearly  shot  on a shoestring budget .We can clearly make out  that  all the “forest” around the cabin is painted on props, whenever the characters are  inside which is most of the  time.

Their  conversations are  not even half as  interesting as  they would like them to be, so that  we are largely struck  in the yawn-der.There is  no connect  between the characters’ crisis  and the audience. They all speak as if they have memorized lines for a function to honour Biden.

Blessedly  Shyamalan avoids gruesomeness, which is  not to say that Shyamalan serenades  subtlety. But  he  does push for  a certain amount of gravity in a plot that grows progressively hard to  digest. The idea  of  the world coming to and so soon after it almost did, is not appealing either  as  horror or  sci-fi. Knock At The  Cabin is neither.

The stand-out moments  are  all  in the past when little Wen is seen grooving with her  two dads to the sound of ‘Boogie Shoes’, or when the two men go to an orphanage to adopt Wen. What  a lovely family they make! Why couldn’t  Manoj Shyamalan leave them alone?


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