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Knock at the Cabin

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    83
    from 6 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Knock at the Cabin: solid yet frustrating, with top-notch 4K but light extras.

    Knock at the Cabin 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    96
  • Knock at the Cabin's UHD presents with vivid, sharp details and refined color via Dolby Vision, maintaining its filmic roots with a 4K DI, enriched by HDR's depth and texture.

  • Audio
    96
  • The Dolby Atmos track delivers an immersive, dynamic experience with clear dialogue, deep bass, and clever use of surround and height channels, enhancing the film's atmospheric and dialogue-driven moments.

  • Extra
    79
  • The UHD release of Knock at the Cabin includes detailed bonus features on its making, deleted scenes, and extended segments, with notable insights into the cast, props, and storyboarding processes.

  • Movie
    77
  • M. Night Shyamalan's 'Knock at the Cabin' combines direct-to-camera storytelling with a tense, apocalyptic premise but falters in delivery and satisfaction.

    Video: 96

    The video presentation of "Knock at the Cabin" on 4K UHD Blu-Ray showcases a meticulous transfer that is true to its 35mm film origins, bringing to light an array of stunning visuals that elevate the contemporary horror/thriller genre it embodies. The film, shot with Arriflex 235, Panavision Panaflex Lightweight II, and Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL cameras, was processed photochemically before being digitally scanned to create a native 4K Digital Intermediate. This meticulous process results in a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image that boasts HDR (Dolby Vision and HDR10), Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. The visual finesse of this UHD release significantly improves over its Blu-Ray counterpart, offering a superior viewing experience characterized by enhanced clarity, depth, and color fidelity. The textures in facial features, clothing, and the natural environment are rendered with remarkable detail, providing a level of immersion that is noticeably more pronounced than in standard high-definition versions.

    The application of Dolby Vision HDR particularly benefits the film’s color palette, infusing the visual narrative with vibrancy and depth. The greens of the forest and the rich, earthy tones of the cabin interior are rendered with such realism that they almost leap off the screen, while flesh tones remain true to life throughout. Superior black levels contribute to the overall depth of the image, offering nuanced shadows that enhance the film's suspenseful atmosphere without compromising detail. Daytime sequences boast sun-splashed landscapes with intensified resolution, showcasing the dynamic range this UHD release is capable of. Despite a few sequences where the visual engagement seems somewhat muted due to stylistic choices in color grading, the overall consistency in color reproduction remains commendable.

    Universal's 4K UHD presentation respects and amplifies the film's original aesthetic, balancing sharpness with the natural film grain to maintain its cinematic quality. The clever utilization of Dolby Vision augments the contrast and brightness, creating perky peaks and stellar black levels without sacrificing the film's inherent vintage charm. The warmer tones and natural skin colors favored by the color grading, alongside the bold primaries, enrich the viewing experience further, making "Knock at the Cabin" an exemplar of how finely-tuned technical specifications can significantly enhance narrative delivery in a home cinema setting. While not transformative, the visual improvements over previous formats are distinct and contribute substantially to a more engaging and immersive experience.

    Audio: 96

    The audio presentation of "Knock at the Cabin" on its 4K UHD Blu-ray release showcases an impressively dynamic and immersive Dolby Atmos track, offering a well-rounded and engaging audio experience that far surpasses expectations for a film primarily set within the confines of a single location. The clarity and natural tone of dialogue take precedence, firmly anchored in the frontal array, yet the track excels in crafting an enveloping soundscape that extends well beyond simple conversation. Atmospheric sounds and discrete effects from the forest surrounding the cabin are rendered with lifelike definition, utilizing overhead channels to enhance the ambiance and immersion into the film’s setting. The score, particularly its choral arrangements, effectively utilizes the surround sound environment, creating a cohesive audio experience that is both enveloping and precise in its spatial placement.

    Bass response is tight and impactful, adding depth and resonance to both the score and various effects without overwhelming the nuances of the quieter moments. This balance maintains the film's claustrophobic tension while allowing for explosive auditory moments during scenes of heightened action or emotional intensity. The mix demonstrates exceptional layering and directional clarity, with sound objects moving seamlessly in the listening space, ensuring an engaging experience that keeps viewers on edge. From subtle creaks and thumps filling out the soundscape during tense sequences to thunderous rumbles during more action-packed scenes, the audio track delivers a multi-layered experience that complements the film’s visual tension and dramatic pacing.

    Moreover, this Atmos mix admirably supports the film's dual nature, enhancing the storytelling without distracting from it. The integration of height channels not for overt action but for reinforcing the claustrophobic atmosphere with natural sounds and ambient noise introduces a level of auditory detail that is commendable. "Knock at the Cabin" leverages its Atmos track not just to accentuate direct action but to deepen the viewer's immersion into its uniquely constrained yet emotionally expansive narrative space. Vocal clarity remains a high point, ensuring dialogue integrity across a broad range of inflections, further anchored by a soundstage that is aware of both its limitations and possibilities, proving that thoughtful audio engineering can elevate even the most contained stories into something truly cinematic.

    Extra: 79

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Knock at the Cabin" stands out for its well-curated selection of extras, which enhance the viewing experience by diving deep into the making and concept of the film. Despite a relatively modest number, each featurette is crafted to offer insights into the filmmaking process, from pre-production storyboards to the detailed creation of menacing tools used in the story. The deleted scenes, totaling a concise 5:35 minutes, offer glimpses into what could have been, with all being presented in stunning 4K resolution, intensifying the overall clarity and impact. The extended Chowblaster infomercial adds a whimsical element with a cameo by M. Night Shyamalan himself. The behind-the-scenes segment, at over 23 minutes, is particularly enlightening, offering an in-depth look at the adaptation process, casting, and the unique dynamic among cast members. Short but insightful pieces on storyboarding and the film debut of Kristen Cui round off a compact yet informative collection of bonuses that are sure to appeal both to fans of the film and aficionados of the horror genre.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Deleted Scenes: Four scenes offering additional context.
    • Chowblaster Infomercial - Extended: A fun extension featuring Shyamalan.
    • Choosing Wisely: Behind the Scenes of Knock at the Cabin: An extensive look into the film's creation.
    • Tools of the Apocalypse: Insight into the film’s distinctive props.
    • Drawing a Picture: Exploration of Shyamalan's storyboard process.
    • Kristen Cui Shines a Light: Spotlight on the young actress’s pivotal role.

    Movie: 77

    In "Knock at the Cabin," director M. Night Shyamalan takes a departure from the conventional by having his characters address the audience directly through the lens, a stylistic choice aimed at fostering a sense of connection and immersion. However, this approach does not resonate with all viewers, as it breaks traditional norms where characters engage with each other rather than acknowledging the camera's presence. This technique aside, the film adapts Paul G. Tremblay's novel "The Cabin at the End of the World," and while it remains faithful to the book's core narrative—highlighting the emotional turmoil and moral dilemmas faced by a family when confronted with a harrowing choice that pits the survival of humanity against their personal bonds—it alters key elements including the sequence of events and notably, the story's culmination. The changes, especially the more straightforward ending, deviate from the novel's more complex themes, leaving a feeling of dissatisfaction regarding the depth and evolution of its characters.

    Shyamalan's venture into this apocalyptic narrative draws mixed reactions, with its initial promise diluted by executional missteps. Despite an intriguing premise where a family must make an impossible choice to prevent global catastrophe, the film struggles to maintain suspense and engagement, largely due to a reliance on dialogue over action within the constrained setting of a cabin. Where it excels, however, is in its strong performances, particularly from Dave Bautista as Leonard, whose portrayal adds depth to the film with a nuanced balance of menace and empathy. His character becomes the emotional fulcrum around which the narrative pivots. Meanwhile, Kristen Cui shines as Wen, delivering a performance that anchors the human element amidst the unfolding chaos. The visual craftsmanship, attributed to cinematographers Jarin Blaschke and Lowell A. Meyer, lends a distinct aesthetic that enhances the film's atmosphere, even if its innovative narrative choices do not fully achieve their intended impact.

    Shyamalan’s ambition in "Knock at the Cabin" represents another polarizing entry in his filmography. The movie weaves a compelling premise with societal and philosophical undertones, questioning moralities in extremis. Despite this rich thematic fabric, it suffers from uneven pacing and an ending that feels incongruent with its established narrative complexities. The use of direct-to-camera addresses is bold but divisive, further illustrating Shyamalan’s willingness to experiment, albeit with mixed success. Nevertheless, performances—particularly Bautista's standout role—elevate the film, revealing moments of genuine emotion and tension that punctuate its slow-burning dread. In its endeavor to blend genre expectations with deeper existential inquiries, "Knock at the Cabin" undeniably showcases Shyamalan’s audacious narrative aspirations and highlights his capacity for eliciting memorable performances from his cast.

    Total: 83

    Knock at the Cabin," M. Night Shyamalan's latest venture into the world of psychological thrillers, marks an intriguing departure from his signature storytelling style, avoiding the notorious twist ending and instead leaning heavily into the emotional and apocalyptic stakes at hand. The film, sourced from Paul Tremblay’s novel "The Cabin at the End of the World," showcases a compelling narrative propelled by outstanding performances, notably from Dave Bautista and Kristen Cui. Despite its engaging premise and strong character portrayals, the film slightly falters in fully realizing its apocalyptic potential, leaving audiences with a sense of disconnection from the intended gravity of the situation. Nevertheless, the 4K UHD Blu-ray release by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment excels in technical presentation, with a native 4K transfer that brings stunning detail, depth of color, and exceptional black levels that accentuate the film's atmospheric tension.

    The audio experience, led by a Dolby Atmos track, complements the visual fidelity with finesse. Despite its narrative-driven focus leaving limited room for bombastic audio moments, the Atmos mix skillfully uses separation, dynamics, and a robust bass level to enhance the immersive quality of the film. It crafts an audibly rich backdrop that amplifies the tension residing within the cabin's confines. However, it's noted that the supplemental features accompanying this release are somewhat sparse, making it clear that the main allure lies in the film’s A/V execution rather than in extensive behind-the-scenes explorations.

    In conclusion, while "Knock at the Cabin" slightly stumbles in narrative ambition and falls short of delivering a thoroughly satisfying conclusion, its home release exemplifies technical brilliance. The 4K UHD presentation shines brightly with its superior video and audio quality, ensuring that fans of Shyamalan and newcomers to his oeuvre will find ample enjoyment in this visually stunning and sonically enveloping release. Though it may not herald a return to form for Shyamalan, it stands as a testament to his ability to construct compelling, character-driven narratives within the confines of small-scale settings. This release is recommendable for its A/V merits, but potential buyers might opt to wait for a sale to add it to their collection.