Knock at the Cabin: A Distinctly Jewish Comparison
Updated: Apr 1
M. Night Shyamalan’s newest movie, Knock at the Cabin, is an apocalyptic horror movie with a religious twist. In his 30-plus year career, Shyamalan has carved out a niche as a science fiction and horror director whose movies revolve around a twist at the end, but in Knock at the Cabin, he steps away from that. In the movie, Shyamalan delves into his religious background; he was raised Hindu but attended Episcopal Academy (which Barrack competes with in certain sports), solely because it was the best school in his area. In this film, Shyamalan utilizes that religious background in a way that he has never done before.
The movie takes place in a secluded cabin where a little girl (Wen) and her two dads (Andrew and Eric) are vacationing. The cabin is approached by four people, played by Dave Bautista, Rupert Grint, Abby Quinn, and Nikki Amuka-Bird, each carrying complicated medieval weapons. The intruders first knock at the cabin door, and eventually break in and tie Andrew and Eric up. The intruders explain that they each received visions from God saying that the world will end unless the family sacrifices one of their own. Andrew and Eric are conflicted because they do not know if the intruders are telling the truth, but they have to make a decision. Although Shyamalan is making reference to the four horsemen of the apocalypse from the New Testament, he is making a greater parallel to Genesis 22. In that chapter Abraham is given a command by G-d to sacrifice his son Isaac for no apparent reason and with no reason to do so except belief in a higher power. This is the same predicament Andrew, Eric, and Wen are put in. They are being forced to kill a family member because messengers of a higher power are supposedly telling them to. Knock at the Cabin is an allegory for the questioning of God’s motives. Why would God need Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? How would Abraham have seen himself if he had gone through with murdering his own son? Although upsetting in its premise, Knock at the Cabin is a universal movie, in that the questions raised by it have been asked by thousands of people over thousands of years.
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