Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Knock At The Cabin Could Have Had An Even More Upsetting Ending (& Why M. Night Shyamalan Made The Right Choice)

The following article contains MAJOR spoilers for "Knock at the Cabin," including its theatrical ending.

It takes a mighty movie to finally end the box office reign of "Avatar: The Way of Water," and "Knock at the Cabin" did just that. The suspense-driven horror-drama is the latest from the lens of M. Night Shyamalan. It focuses on a happy family — fathers Eric (Jonathan Groff), Andrew (Ben Aldridge), and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) — whose vacation to an isolated cabin is interrupted by a group of strangers who arrive one by one to hold the happy family hostage. 

This cadre of armed strangers is led by primary school teacher Leonard (Dave Bautista) and also includes Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Adriane (Abby Quinn), and Redmond (Rupert Grint). They claim they are nonviolent people but have arrived at the cabin to request quite a violent deed — that either Eric or Andrew kill each other to preserve the future of humanity. They claim that only the death of one member of the happy family will circumvent an oncoming apocalypse. Eric and Andrew don't believe them until the tsunamis start. Both parties soon begin to wrestle with guilt and doubt about who is telling the truth and whether or not their faith is misplaced.

"Knock at the Cabin" derives its moral struggles from a novel, Paul G. Tremblay's "The Cabin at the End of the World." It turns out that the book and the film differ in one particular way — "Knock at the Cabin's" ending. And it's more shocking than the one in the movie by miles.

Wen was originally supposed to die

Had "Knock at the Cabin" followed "The Cabin at the End of the World" to a tee, the film's overall story would have been much bleaker. 

In the book's version of events, when Eric and Andrew break free from their bonds, they struggle with Adriane over a gun. The weapon discharges, fatally shooting Wen, which is enough to convince Sabrina to switch sides and team up with Eric and Andrew to kill Leonard. Unfortunately, the death of Wen isn't enough to stop the apocalypse. Sabrina tells the men to select which of them should die and then dies by suicide. But Andrew persuades Eric not to kill himself. The two men agree to stay together as a family and face the oncoming apocalypse together, no matter what may come.

Let's be honest with ourselves; any movie that ends with a dead kid is bound to be super upsetting. When it's done well, it's devastating, but in a film that's about the power of self-sacrifice and the importance of the future and the greater good, killing off the human embodiment of all of the good things to come is a pretty bad idea. Therefore, the script's choice to go with Andrew sacrificing himself so Wen can have a happy future is a much more complete reflection of the central themes that underpin "Knock at the Cabin."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).