Knock at the Cabin Ending Explained: Twists, Changes From Book, and More

The Sixth Sense proved to be filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's breakout cinematic opportunity, which became a hit with audiences and critics and even earned the filmmaker an Oscar nomination. That film also featured an unexpected resolution, arguably one of the most famous in modern cinema history, and with follow-up films like Unbreakable, Signs, and The Village all offering unexpected reveals in their finales, Shyamalan earned a reputation for his "twist" endings, an expectation he has a hard time escaping. With Knock at the Cabin out now in theaters, and being based on the Paul G. Tremblay novel The Cabin at the End of the World, audiences have wondered if another surprise was in store for them, and now we have our answers.

WARNING: Major spoilers below for Knock at the Cabin and The Cabin at the End of the World below

Both the book and the film feature a family vacationing at a cabin who are descended upon by a group of strangers claiming they've all had apocalyptic visions. Leonard (Dave Bautista) reveals that, if the family chooses a member to sacrifice, they can prevent the global apocalypse. Understandably, as the family doubts these claims, the strangers begin to sacrifice themselves one at a time to show that such sacrifices trigger a devastating tragedy

In short, no, there is not a twist ending that offers a revelatory change that retroactively alters the events that came before it. Despite not getting a traditional twist, the film does deliver a somewhat unexpected ending.

The first apocalyptic event to occur is a massive tsunami off the coast of Oregon, with the next being a deadly virus earning outbreaks in various cities, and the third seeing planes falling from the sky inexplicably around the world. With one father in the family Eric (Jonathan Groff) having earned a concussion, he at least considers that these events are actually connected to the cabin. When Leonard, the last of the surviving intruders, sacrifices himself, lightning begins to strike near the cabin, potentially signaling the apocalypse

Eric convinces his husband Andrew (Ben Aldridge) to kill him, detailing how he knows he and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) will go on to have a wonderful life even in the event of his death. Andrew allows the sacrifice to happen and leaves the cabin with Wen. At the local diner, they pull in to see the patrons watching TV and witnessing the survivors of the various tragedies and that those events have been controlled. Things are left at least somewhat ambiguous as to whether Eric's death prevented the apocalypse, with all that seemingly matters being that the tragedies stopped.

In Tremblay's novel, things are left a bit more ambiguous but also feature other tragic events. 

In the book, Andrew escapes the cabin ahead of the second intruder's sacrifice and retrieves his gun. While he kills that intruder, a struggle over the weapon with Leonard kills Wen. Due to guilt, Leonard allows himself to be tied up, while the remaining intruder, Sabrina, starts to doubt the mission. After killing Leonard, Sabrina takes Andrew and Eric to the car the intruders used to get to the cabin, though she also kills herself. Eric initially offers to kill himself, as Leonard claimed Wen's sacrifice wasn't enough, since it was accidental and their visions claimed the sacrifice has to be a willing participant. Andrew refuses to live without Eric or to offer up a sacrifice to a God that wouldn't consider Wen a worthy sacrifice, with the book ending on a more ambiguous and unresolved note.

While some audiences might consider Knock at the Cabin to have a twist, at least compared to the source material that omits any major answers about the situation, when speaking relatively to reveals in other Shyamalan movies, this latest film avoids offering any shocking revelations in its final scenes.

Knock at the Cabin is in theaters now.

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