Shyamalan explains why Knock At The Cabin avoids extreme violence
M. Night Shyamalan reveals why he avoids revealing violence in his new film Knock at the Door. The director, best known for The Sixth Sense, has had many ups and downs throughout his long film career.
However, Shyamalan’s fortunes have improved recently, with movie office successes such as Glass, Split, and 2021’s Old. And the prolific Shyamalan is still at it, with the release of Knock at the Cabin, an apocalyptic thriller starring Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, and Rupert Grint, on the horizon.
Knock at the Cabin appears to be a typical Shyamalan film in certain aspects, but it is not in others. For one thing, the apocalyptic horror thriller has received an R-rating from the MPAA, making it only Shyamalan’s second R-rated film.
However, while Knock at the Cabin is more violent than a usual Shyamalan film, it is hardly a full-fledged horror movie gorefest. Why Knock at the Door avoids, Shyamalan addressed overt violence in a recent interview with Digital Spy. Check out what he had to say in the following space:
Shyamalan’s films have never required gory violence.
Despite his reputation as a horror director, Shyamalan’s works are notable for their absence of excessive and graphic violence. Indeed, until Knock at the Door, Shyamalan’s only other R-rated film was The Happening.
The Happening, another apocalyptic vision, acquired an R rating partly due to frightening depictions of mass suicide. In Knock at the Cabin, the violence is again link to an apocalyptic catastrophe, and things become so horrible that the MPAA classified the film as R-rated.
So Shyamalan’s track record demonstrates that the director is willing to stretch the bounds of violence when he believes it is require for the tale. However, in general, his films have dealt with psychological horrors, such as The Sixth Sense, which did not require any graphic violence to be effective.
Shyamalan has favoured slow-burn pacing as part of his psychological approach to horror narrative. For the most part, slow-burn horror does not lend itself to graphic violence except as occasional punctuation. Indeed, if excessive gore were add to the mix, most of Shyamalan’s slow-paced, sombre pictures would become excruciatingly painful.
Given that Shyamalan appears to be interest in gaining a diverse audience for his films (a sensible strategy for a mainstream director), it stands to reason that the explicit violence he shows would be toned down. On the other hand, it could be argued that a number of his films would have benefited from him being more eager to let loose with the gore.
The Happening, which is already an unintentionally comic film, could have been a masterpiece if Shyamalan had gone for a Sam Raimi level of over-the-top violence. However, Shyamalan is no Raimi, and he is better off keeping to his slow-burn, suggestive horror style with well-timed forays into violence. And, based on early reactions, Knock at the Cabin gets the balance exactly right.