Like his previous film, Old, M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin is an intriguing, self-contained, efficient thriller – although not nearly as satisfying as it could be. The setup: A family staying at that classic American horror location, the cabin in the woods, is taken hostage by four invaders who’ve had visions of the apocalypse.
To say more would rob the film of some of its surprise, and its ability to keep you questioning what will happen is one of its pleasures – so think twice about listening to the podcast before you see it, because we spoil everything! There’s a lot to like, including its portrayal of a same-sex couple so unremarkable that the characters’ sexuality barely needs addressing (although more affection shown between them would have been welcome) and Dave Bautista’s calm but imposing presence as the leader of the intruders. But it’s so keen to have its sceptical protagonists arguing with what their opponents tell them that it doesn’t explore the dramatic and moral questions it has the opportunity to, and it’s too eager to be tasteful. When even José’s asking for gruesomeness you know you’ve shown too much restraint.
Knock at the Cabin is an interesting and engaging film but rather thin and could do with showing more bravery and style. Worth a look, though.
There’s an unwelcome element of particularly American and ill-fitting barbarism in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, a film that we hoped would be cleverer and more charming than it is. It’s also more of a straightforward thriller than a whodunnit, with one particular alteration to the murder mystery formula meaning that so much is kept from the audience that it stops being fun to play along. There’s still enough here to enjoy, but we’d like the third film to be more like the first, please.
A tight yet sprawling high-concept thriller, Hotel Artemis features glorious performances from Jodie Foster and the wonderful cast that surrounds her, surprising pathos and a beautifully built world. José expounds upon his love for Foster and explores the details of her performance here; Mike discusses what makes the world-building so effective and elegant. We’d have liked to have seen stronger, more expressive visual storytelling – there’s so much potential in this single sanctuary hidden within an unforgiving world – but, well, nobody’s perfect.
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