Is Knock at the Cabin one of Shyamalan’s best movies?

Knock at the Cabin, image courtesy Universal Pictures
Knock at the Cabin, image courtesy Universal Pictures /

M. Night Shyamalan set the bar pretty high with his Academy Award-nominated movie The Sixth Sense. He’s written, produced, and directed over a dozen more movies since then, in addition to the hit Apple TV+ series Servant. But every time he releases something new, like with his newest horror mystery thriller, Knock at the Cabin, it’s inevitable we wonder how good it is in comparison to what he’s done before.

So, on which part of the spectrum does Knock at the Cabin fall? Let’s first address the elephant on the page. Best. It’s all relative, isn’t it? Not to mention super subjective.

But as humans, it seems we’re wired to judge —and rank— things. Which is why every time a new movie comes out from a favorite writer, director, or actor, we compare it with their previous work.

All of which brings us back to the question: Is Knock at the Cabin one of M. Night Shyamalan’s best movies, or not?

Let’s first start with a brief overview of what the movie’s about, then look at some of the early ratings and reviews.

Knock at the Cabin synopsis

While vacationing at a remote cabin in the woods, a young girl and her parents are taken hostage by four armed strangers who demand they make an unthinkable choice to avert the apocalypse. Confused, scared and with limited access to the outside world, the family must decide what they believe before all is lost.

Knock at the Cabin ratings

Knock at the Cabin was only released in theaters on Feb. 3, 2023. However, it’s already garnered favorable ratings from those who have seen it.

It’s so far got a 6.3 out of 10 on IMDB. On Rotten Tomatoes, it’s getting consistent ratings from both critics and general audiences alike, with a 68% Tomatometer score and a 65%  audience score. And 72% of Google users have indicated they liked it.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent movie. For point-of-reference comparison purposes, here are ratings for some other well-known and popular Shyamalan films:

  • The Sixth Sense – IMDB: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and audience scores, respectively: 86% and 90%; Google users: 89%
  • Split – IMDB: 7.3, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and audience scores, respectively: 78% and 79%; Google users: 83%
  • Signs – IMDB: 6.8; Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and audience scores, respectively: 75% and 67%; Google users: 80%
  • The Village – IMDB: 6.6; Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer and audience scores, respectively: 43% and 57%; Google users: 73%

Based on pure ratings alone, I think it’s safe to say Knock at the Cabin is one of Shyamalan’s better films.

Knock at the Cabin
Knock at the Cabin – Courtesy Universal /

Knock at the Cabin reviews

Knock at the Cabin is based on a book of the same name by Paul G. Tremblay. Screen Rant shared the author’s first reaction to the movie, which was “pretty great.”

But you’d hope the author would say that, right? I mean, Stephen King voiced regrets with Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining, but generally most authors are usually pretty pleased to see their writing come to life on the big screen.

Nick Allen at was more forthright with a less than favorable review of the movie, however. The first sentence of his review suggested Shyamalan “should probably just stay away from the apocalypse,” and then referenced how that topic hadn’t really worked for him with The Happening either. He then categorized Knock at the Cabin as “another minor work” from someone who mostly offers “major” works.

Allen isn’t all thumbs-down, though. He mostly didn’t like the storyline, but he does compliment the cinematography and the aptly described “standout performance” by Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy).

I could not agree more that the artful cinematography deserves praise. And Bautista’s performance? Fire. Pure fire. As Leonard, a mild-mannered teddy bear of a giant who finds himself reluctantly being recruited as one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, it was refreshing to see him display such a sweet, sensitive, gentle side.

But the whole cast deserves props. Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Rupert Grint, Abby Quinn, and Nikki Amuke-Bird were all tasked with portraying characters put in an awkward, not to mention unbelievable, situation. The subject matter was difficult, and their performances were raw and honest.

And then there was Kristen Cui as Wen, whose innocence was heartbreaking, but whose intelligence and candor were heartwarming. She provided the same sense of quiet acceptance waiting for the adults to catch up to reality —as outrageous as it may be— that Haley Joel Osment demonstrated as Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense.

As far as my personal ranking of Shyamalan films goes, The Sixth Sense is still first. But Knock at the Cabin now ties in second place with Signs, because of the characters. They were all likable, which made watching what was happening amongst them all the more nerve-racking and heart-wrenching.

So, yes, in my opinion, that makes Knock at the Cabin one of Shyamalan’s best. If you’ve seen it, I’d love to know your thoughts about it.

Knock at the Cabin trailer

Next. M. Night Shyamalan doesn’t consider his movies ‘horror’. dark

What’s your favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie? Sound off in the comments section.