Batista is no stranger to success as a WWE Superstar, but he’s also been making headway as a movie star over the years.
While Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson suffered a setback with Black Adam and John Cena may skip out on The Road to WrestleMania due to filming Ricky Stanicky, Dave Bautista has a huge project on the way with Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 set for a May 5 release.
But if you can’t wait until then to see Batista on the big screen, you’re in luck. He’s the lead in M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin, currently in theaters.
As pro wrestling fans, we’re inherently a built-in potential audience to watch any of our wrestlers in films, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a definitive crossover. Just because Rey Mysterio is in the Netflix film Against the Ropes doesn’t mean I have any interest in checking it out, for instance.
So is Knock at the Cabin worth a watch, or should you just skip it?
In case you don’t want to know too much about the movie other than the general concept you’d get from the trailer, here is a short description without any real spoilers:
A little girl and her two adopted fathers are on a vacation at a remote cabin in the woods, when four armed strangers (led by Batista) hold them hostage, claiming that the family must choose to sacrifice one of their own, or the world will end and everyone on the planet will die.
It is a horror film, but not in the horror sense of slashers where the focus is on jump scares and gore—as well as a mystery, but not like Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (also featuring Bautista), and a suspense film mostly set in one location.
Needless to say, if comedies are your thing and you aren’t a fan of tension, this might not be your type of film, though it is far from the most nail-biting “edge of my seat” thriller I’ve ever seen, I’ll say that.
M. Night Shyamalan’s Track Record
In many ways, the movie business isn’t so much driven anymore by a superstar actor (as in when people would go to see “the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger flick” or something), but rooted more in intellectual property or the director.
Since Knock at the Cabin is based on a book, but nothing as popular as the source material for Marvel movies, for example, that isn’t as much of a draw. This is more about the movie’s premise and the prospect of it being an M. Night Shyamalan film.
Your mileage may vary on his work, since not only is everything subjective, but his output has had its ups and downs.
To give context to my perspective, I thought The Sixth Sense was great back in 1999, I liked Unbreakable even more in 2000, I wasn’t big on Signs, didn’t see The Village or Lady in the Water, saw enough clips of The Happening to know it is ridiculous, and didn’t bother with After Earth or The Visit. I just assumed he was a two-hit wonder and that was it.
Then, Split came out, and I gave that a shot and enjoyed it. Glass after that was solid, too. Old in 2021 didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I still would give it an overall thumbs up.
So what sold me on seeing this wasn’t necessarily that it starred Batista or that it was Shyamalan behind the camera, but more so, the concept itself.
With that in mind, if you’ve hated all of Shyamalan’s work before, or you think it sounds like a dumb movie, I’d recommend staying away from it, even if Batista is your favorite wrestler.
Is There Anything for a Pro Wrestling Fan?
Just in case, though, if you’re approaching this from the WWE fan mentality, is there anything in the film that would appeal to that part of your fandom?
Truth be told, no.
There really isn’t anything close to a crossover between what you’ll get in the world of sports entertainment versus what Batista is doing in this film. They’re two entirely different animals (pun intended) and it would have been ludicrous to see him powerbombing the family or for his main antagonist to be a basketball with a grudge.
Batista is well past the part of his career where he only does action movies that will see him do a clothesline to reference his other job. His part here could have been played by any number of larger, muscular actors like a Terry Crews, Joe Manganiello or Jason Momoa.
But I actually think Batista brings a certain uneasy delicate nature to his performance that some of the others might not necessarily have translated as well, making him a perfect fit for this role.
Grading Film Elements
One of the ways I typically review movies on my Fanboys Anonymous site is what I call my Making the Grade system, where I break down a movie in a few aspects to give a better general sense of what is good, bad or in the middle.
As I’m trying to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, I won’t do an in-depth assessment. But here are my general thoughts on a few categories:
- Story = B+ (Interesting premise. Simple, but effective. Something different.)
- Characters / Acting = B- (It isn’t a lengthy film, so there isn’t much room to explore characters beyond face value. But everyone does their job well enough to where they all feel unique.)
- Tone / Atmosphere = B+ (Mostly the proper level of all types of moods. It could have used perhaps a bit more tension, despite how I’m not a big fan of that in general.)
- Visuals (FX, Makeup, Costumes, Sets, Etc) = B (No complaints here, but there isn’t much of that to go around in the first place. This isn’t a spectacle film.)
- Audio (Music / Sound) = C- (This was a little lacking. I don’t typically notice sound design to call attention to it, but I will say the music score felt like it was non-existent)
Judgment Call: See It or Skip It?
Unless this is clearly not your type of movie for whatever reason, I think it is worth a quick watch. It’s not a long commitment and felt fresh enough for a guy like me who has seen over 1500 films (check out my Letterboxd) and lost track of how many times I’ve watched the same plot beats.
Here’s hoping there are more roles for Dave Bautista to shine in the future, as he did a great job in this one.
Did you see Knock at the Cabin? What did you think? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!
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