M. Night Shyamalan teases his upcoming horror movie Knock at the Cabin

Knock at the Cabin
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

"We talked a lot, Universal and I, about whether to say, at the end of the trailer, what is the thing that they have to do. And we came to the decision of saying no, we just have to get everyone to understand that the thing is not going to be good!" M. Night Shyamalan tells Total Film in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Oppenheimer on the cover. We're catching up with the filmmaker just after the first trailer for his new movie, Knock at the Cabin, has just dropped and it’s caused quite the stir. 

In it, a little girl named Wen (Kristen Cui) and her dads (Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge) are vacationing at, yes, a cabin, when, that’s right, there’s a knock. Outside the door stand four strangers (Dave Bautista, Rupert Grint, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Abby Quinn) who tell the family they’ve been selected to make a terrible decision, and only the right choice will avert the apocalypse... 

Being a movie by mystery man Shyamalan, what happens beyond this point is shrouded in secrecy. But it seems fair to say that he’s again taking viewers on an electrifying journey full of whiplash twists and breakneck turns, for what initially presents itself as a cabin-in-the-woods horror movie, or a home-invasion thriller, is set to go somewhere completely different. 

"I’m drawn to things that take genres and bend them in new ways, or change genres from what you thought you were watching," he says, pointing out that Paul Tremblay’s 2018 source novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, has this in common with his own ideas. "The architectural twist is part of the fun of it. And as I’m morphing genres, I have to move up into more high-octane genres. If you cadence down, even if you do it really well, it has a certain reducing-of-stakes quality that the audience feels."

For more, pick up a copy of Total Film’s 2023 Preview issue, fronted by Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. You order here, and the magazine will be available in shops and on digital newsstands from Thursday, December 15. And the print version of this new issue comes with a special 52-page supplement counting down the best films, must-see moments, and breakout stars of 2022.

Total Film's 2023 Preview and Review of the Year 2022

(Image credit: Universal/Syncopy/Total Film)

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Editor-at-Large, Total Film

Jamie Graham is the Editor-at-Large of Total Film magazine. You'll likely find them around these parts reviewing the biggest films on the planet and speaking to some of the biggest stars in the business – that's just what Jamie does. Jamie has also written for outlets like SFX and the Sunday Times Culture, and appeared on podcasts exploring the wondrous worlds of occult and horror.