We have a new member of the team at the Last Movie Outpost, Wrenage, who has submitted a number of reviews for us. Here is his first official review, A Knock at the Cabin.
If you would like to review something, old or new, send your contributions to [email protected] and blow the minds of your fellow Outposters. Anyway, on with the review.
A Knock At The Cabin perplexed me. Either M. Night simply collected a paycheck, or he directed a film that is fairly subversive in this pro-gay climate.
The movie is the latest flick from former Spielberg-heir-apparent M. Night, who had Hollywood in the palm of his hand with films like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and is now regulated to mid-budgets because of films like The Happening and Avatar.
For my money, that’s exactly where M. Night belongs. It frees him from unrealistic expectations, and he is talented enough to produce solid work within those parameters.
A Knock At The Cabin breaks down like this: a male homosexual couple and their adopted Asian daughter are accosted at their cabin by a group of apocalypse nuts. They are presented with a simple choice — kill one member of the family unit or the world will end.
I expected to mock this movie. I had multiple gay, gender, and racial jokes half-formed in my head. For example, something about how a smart homosexual male couple would never adopt an Asian, because Asians are notoriously good at the applied sciences (even the women ones), and they would rapidly come to the engineering conclusion that pistons work best with valves.
Sure, if needs refinement, but you get the idea. And you can’t really blame me. This movie had all the warning signs of wokeness being delivered via a sledgehammer to the noggin.
The gay couple is played by Jonathon Groff and Ben Aldridge. Since both are gay in real life, I fully expected them to pour it on thick: loving smooching, overly-sensitive support, strength through tears, and a virtuousness that transcends Mother Teresa. Yet, their performances are nicely restrained. They came off as real people rather than checkboxes.
The adopted daughter is played by Kristen Cui, who I feared would be so cute and wise, as to make one want to barf. She started out like that as she collected grasshoppers (or locusts if you are so inclined to pay attention to the movie’s subject), but she stayed within tolerable limits thereafter.
The apocalypse nuts, who shop at Lord Humongous’s Weapon Emporium, are played by Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quin, and Harry Potter alum Rubert Grint. What spell is Grint casting in A Knock At The Cabin? Slummingniko! Guy just shows up because he can, which is actually a pretty fun state of being, I reckon.
The leader of the group is Dave Bautista. Bautista ends up being the strong back of the movie and carries it with his sincere performance. The villains are interesting in that they are apologetic about everything they do. They don’t want to be there. They also serve as a countdown of sorts, which keeps the movie moving on a schedule.
The movie is based on a book by Paul G. Tremblay. It differs slightly from the movie story, which was penned by M. Night, Steve Desmond, and Michael Sherman.
Why do I think M. Night might have simply collected a paycheck?
Nothing about A Knock At The Cabin is overly-complicated. It’s basically a single location. A lot of the movie is filmed in extreme close-up, and M. Night lets the actors carry the day. Ergo, he didn’t even have to bother blocking out those shots. M. Night could make this movie in his sleep.
Why do I think A Knock At The Cabin might be subversive?
It’s not possible to discuss this topic without brushing up against spoilers. I will try to be as general as possible. A big spoiler is basically given away by the trailers anyway. You pretty much know something is genuinely happening because it is hard to fake tsunamis and planes falling out of the sky.
First of all, what is the biggest opponent of homosexuality? Yes, you in the back row. Biology? That’s a good guess, but I’m thinking religion is the biggest opponent of homosexuality. No matter what social progress homosexuality makes, religion is always there to naysay.
A Knock At The Cabin presents its disasters as judgments from God, and it uses the Christian concept of God. When it shows a passing image of God, it doesn’t show an image of Buddha or Glycon, it shows Jesus. Also, the Four Horseman are a Christian concept, and the word apocalypse itself is another name for the Bible book of Revelation.
This means the movie borrows motifs from homosexuality’s greatest opponent. Why is this subversive? Because homosexuality needs religion to be wrong to win its culture war. A Knock At the Cabin’s story says religion is right about the end of the world. It says the things that happen are judgments from God. Judgments from God are a response to sin. What is one such sin, according to religion? Homosexuality. Do the math. The movie is actually validating its opponent’s position.
I’m not saying A Knock At The Cabin accurately presents any common Christian eschatological belief. Its end-times situation is purely fanciful and quite preposterous. Nevertheless, it creates a reality within the film where religion is true.
Furthermore, once the gay characters are trussed up in the cabin and try to rationalize their situation, one makes reference to it being conversion therapy. This is exactly what happens! They are converted to a religious point of view. At the end of the movie, a glimpse into the future is given, as well. If one was so inclined, one could interpret it to say homosexuality is out of the picture for the characters involved because no reference to it is made at that point.
And that’s why I’m perplexed. Is this deliberate? Did someone sneak it through? Or did none of them think these things through?
If I had to guess, I’d say no one thought this through. It’s all an accident. Yet, this gives A Knock At The Cabin a subtly disturbing conclusion for those who hold certain worldviews, and isn’t that what a genuine horror movie is supposed to do in the end? Combine that with M. Night’s effective guidance, and you got yourself a decent little movie. 3.5 stars.
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