NUNN'S THEATER HABIT
Knock at the Cabin opens the door to gay representation
Wed. February 1, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Knock at the Cabin is another step in opening doors to important gay representation on the big screen. M. Night Shyamalan's new film is based on the book The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay.
The story follows a family on vacation at a remote cabin in the woods who is suddenly held hostage by four strangers. To avoid the apocalypse, the trio has to make tough decisions or face the consequences.
Out actors play a gay couple with Ben Aldridge as Andrew and Jonathan Groff as Eric. Newcomer Kristen Cui plays their adopted daughter Wen. Right out of the gate, Wen meets a mysterious stranger named Leonard portrayed by Dave Bautista while she is out catching grasshoppers near the cabin. When Wen senses something amiss she retreats to the cabin to warn her two fathers about dangerous possibilities.
The four strangers Knock at the Cabin and take the family on an emotional journey full of twists and turns. Flashbacks flesh out the history of Andrew, Eric and Wen then quickly return to the present-day dire situation.
Bautista is an unusual casting choice for the role and is the weakest in the quartet, but is also the most well-known. Aldridge, Groff and Cui are all strong in their various parts in terms of grounding the piece and creating a real sense of danger.
They also bring past baggage both in real life and also in the script of trauma caused by being gay. These fully nuanced performances with concise writing work well.
In the same week as episode three of HBO's The Last of Us, this release is also important. No longer are same-sex couples regulated to stereotypes and guest parts. These men stand front and center with the ability to possibly change minds and hearts within the general public. They give audiences a chance to empathize with them and related to them instead of ostracizing them.
What many will want to know is if Shyamalan is up to his old tricks of having a major twist at the end and possibly betraying viewers as he has on some projects in the past. In the case of the Cabin, the popular director restrains himself and sticks to the built-in unpredictability of the book. Shyamalan's cameo is hilarious and this movie is a love letter to the gay community that he can be proud of. It is important in ways some may not understand but this is crucial to the plot of Knock at the Cabin.
This flick is not for the faint of heart and can be brutal at times, but certainly worth the trip out into the woods. Knock at the Cabin opens in theaters on February 3, 2023. Buckle up and prepare yourselves, this is no vacation in the Hamptons!