Knock at the Cabin called "dizzying" and "tense" in first reviews – but some critics were left disappointed

Knock at the Cabin
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Knock at the Cabin is due out in cinemas very soon and in the run up to its release, critics have shared what they thought of the new M. Night Shyamalan flick. Having earned a respectable 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has been called and "tense" in its first reviews – though some have claimed it lacks the director's signature edge.

Adapted from Paul G. Tremblay's novel The Cabin at the End of the World, the film sees Eric (Jonathan Groff), Andrew (Ben Aldridge), and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) terrorized by four strangers who brutally interrupt their remote holiday. Abby Quinn, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Rupert Grint, and Dave Bautista also star.

Total Film's James Mottram described Knock at the Cabin as a "dizzying, apocalyptic shocker" in his write-up, and claims that it sees Shyamalan "deliver one of his most unequivocally thrilling movies in years."

He continued: "The strength of Knock is its juicy premise. This is the most contained movie of Shyamalan’s career; yet despite being primarily set in the one location, it never feels stagey, perhaps because larger events around the globe are never far from the characters’ thoughts."

The Playlist (opens in new tab)'s Simon Thompson was equally enthused by the "relentlessly gripping" outing, gushing: "Shyamalan uses shock and awe in highly creative and effective ways. At times it is genuinely breathtaking, and it never feels like a cop-out or gimmick. A challenging and confident vision, it is the director's most engaging and authentic work in years."

"Clever without being over-clever, it's also earnest and affecting, and surprisingly non-silly as an exercise – like a taut installment of M Night Shyamalan Presents that finally dredges up his mojo," Daily Telegraph (opens in new tab)'s Tim Robey said, while Little White Lies (opens in new tab)' Hannah Strong said it was a "rushed but effective holiday horror."

The Washington Post (opens in new tab)'s Michael O'Sullivan branded Knock at the Cabin "satisfyingly atmospheric and tense," although it seems worth noting that he only gave it 2.5 stars out of 4.

"It's a film with violence but no edge, just a disturbing idea which plays out to a grim and unsatisfying conclusion, unexplored and uninteresting," TheWrap (opens in new tab)'s William Bibbiani disagreed.

"Shyamalan may be saying something meaningful about faith or environmental destruction or the corrosive fraying of the social contract (could this vigilante crew really be motivated by pure homophobia, as Andrew believes?). But the message is mostly lost in sentiment, and a lingering sense of the better, messier movie that might have been," said Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab)'s Leah Greenblatt.

Knock at the Cabin releases in the UK and US on February 3. For more, check out our list of the most exciting movies coming our way across 2023 and beyond.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.