“Knock at the Cabin” (Universal)
By OSV News
Offbeat but effective thriller in which a quartet of intruders (led by Dave Bautista) take a vacationing same-sex couple (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and their young adopted daughter (Kristen Cui) hostage for what turns out to be a bizarre reason. All the members of the group, they explain, have had matching visions of the impending apocalypse, a cataclysm that can only be averted if one of their captives is selected by the others to be killed in sacrifice.
Working from a bestseller by Paul Tremblay, director and co-writer M. Night Shyamalan builds up the emotional tension as the initially incredulous prisoners confront mounting evidence of worldwide disasters unfolding in rapid succession. He also elicits forceful performances that help make the fantastic nature of his main characters’ quandary more believable. But the divergence of the revelations mentioned in the script from biblical prophecy, behavior that would in any normal circumstances be deeply immoral as well as the narrative’s fleeting but distinct endorsement of the central relationship all combine to make the fitting audience for this eccentric yarn a scanty one.
Discreetly handled but harsh violence with some gore, suicide, a benign view of homosexual acts, a few profanities, several milder oaths, frequent rough language, about a half-dozen crude terms. The OSV News classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.