“Knock at the Cabin” Review: A Chilling Thriller With Twists and Turns

From Someone Who Read the Novel, It’s Based On

Luz Analitis, Arts & Life Editor

Have you ever read a novel before and thought to yourself, man, this would make for a great movie? That’s exactly the thought I had when I read “The Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul G. Tremblay back in 2021. I picked it up randomly from the horror section in a Barnes & Noble (something I rarely do because I do not read books as a pastime). So you can imagine my surprise when a year later, I saw a trailer for a movie adaptation of the book! Since I loved the book so much, of course, I went to see the movie during its opening weekend.

For this review, I will start with a spoiler-free version of it as a stand-alone film. Then I will compare it to the book where spoilers will be included.

The film “Knock at the Cabin” has a plot/story that is both intriguing and horrifying. It is part psychological-thriller, part apocalyptic and part horror-mystery. The movie centers around testing the human condition to an extreme. A family must decide whether to willingly sacrifice a member of their family to save all of humanity, or not make the sacrifice and allow the world to end. A truly horrific premise indeed, but admittedly thought-provoking as well.

The visuals and cinematography were also notably gratifying. Especially in the beginning of the film, the scenery was truly captivating, reeling the viewer into the movie’s world from the start. On the other hand, there were some CGI scenes later in the film that felt a little cheesy and not entirely impressive for my taste.

I must note though that the beginning half of the movie is very true to the novel.  Particularly the visuals and casting of the characters. I am a very visual reader, so when I read a book, the descriptions presented paint a vivid picture in my mind. With this said, the movie did an excellent job of portraying the imagery from the book on the big screen.

As for the casting of the characters, this also should be granted high praise. Dave Bautista as the buff and soft-spoken Leonard was a standout performance. His character portrayal was accurate and his acting was compelling. In a GQ interview earlier this year, Bautista explained that he does not want to just be a wrestler/movie star like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He wants serious roles and to be a good and respected actor. After seeing his performance in this movie, he is on his way toward this goal, and I’m excited to see him in future projects. I give the rest of the cast similar praise for their accurate portrayals and exceptional performances.

Overall, if you have never read the book, this movie is an excellent watch. The story will have you on the edge of your seat, second-guessing and wondering what will happen next. The actors/characters will captivate you, having you sympathize with them and tugging at your heartstrings. I also made sure to see the movie with someone who has never read the book, and he left the theater feeling blown away and thoroughly impressed.

On the contrary, now speaking as someone who read “The Cabin at the End of the World” before seeing this movie adaptation, my main issues with the film lie with the intentional changes made that stray far from the novel’s material. So let’s get into…