Knock at the Cabin's Ending, Explained
All Your Questions About "Knock at the Cabin"'s Ending, Answered
Watch out! This post contains spoilers.
"Knock at the Cabin" is M. Night Shyamalan's newest horror film, and it's based on a novel called "A Cabin at the End of the World" by Paul Tremblay. The plot of the film is relatively straightforward. Married couple Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) take their young daughter, Wen (Kristen Cui), to a remote cabin in the woods for a relaxing vacation amongst nature, but things aren't as peaceful as they appear. Here, we break down everything that happens in the film and answer all the questions you may have about the that thrilling ending.
How Does "Knock at the Cabin" Start?
Eric, Andrew, and Wen's vacation is interrupted when a stranger named Leonard (Dave Bautista) approaches Wen and attempts to make friends with her. While Leonard seems friendly enough, Wen senses he's not to be trusted. When three more strangers arrive, each carrying strange weapons with them, Wen runs back to the cabin and her fathers, alerting them to the potential danger.
Leonard and his group follow Wen to the cabin and attempt to talk their way in before breaking their way in when the family refuses to comply. They tie Andrew and Eric up, and Leanord tells them to make a choice: if they don't pick one of their family members to sacrifice, the world will end. Each of the strangers claims to have seen visions of how the world will come to an end, and the only way to stop it is with their family's sacrifice.
Finding the claim ridiculous, the family resists the outrageous demands. Andrew is the most resistant and aggressive, believing the group has targeted them as part of a hate crime. But Leonard's group begins to sacrifice themselves one by one, repeating an eerie mantra each time: "Part of humanity has been judged." Following their deaths, horrible natural disasters like plagues and unexplainable horrors are unleashed upon humanity.
The film spends a lot of time throwing doubt on if these occurrences are actually related to Leonard's claims or if it's all a carefully crafted rouse. By the time the end of the movie rolls around, Leonard and his three colleagues, Redmond (Rupert Grint), Adriane (Abby Quinn), and Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), have all died. Each of their deaths has brought on an even worse cataclysm.
Why Did Eric Sacrifice Himself in "Knock at the Cabin"?
Upon seeing the horrors befall humanity, Eric, the calmer and more empathetic of the lead couple, insists that Andrew kill him. He claims he saw a figure in the light when the strangers first presented them with the choice and that he could feel something in him that told him they were telling the truth. After much arguing, Eric explains he also saw a beautiful future for Andrew and their daughter, and Andrew ultimately pulls the trigger of his gun and kills his husband. Eric's death does seem to put an immediate end to the apocalypse. The natural disasters cease, the sickness recedes, and planes stop falling from the sky. Thanks to their sacrifice, humanity has another chance.
Leonard's Group's Tie to the Four Horsemen
For most of the film, the scenario seems random and illogical. Leonard and his group seem too spontaneously chosen to fit together, and Eric and Andrew's family seem like too convenient of victims (especially considering it's revealed Redmond is a homophobic man who attacked Andrew in a bar years prior). Plenty of doubt is cast on the group, but there is actually significance in each of their roles.
Leonard introduces himself as a second-grade teacher who loves teaching children, but cautions that adults must be careful with what they say because kids believe everything. Redmond is aggressive and doesn't see the point in trying to introduce himself. He admits he's done time for stupid decisions in his youth, but he's better now. Adriane introduces herself as a line cook with a passion for food because caring for people is everything to her. She also has a son, who she fondly proclaims "loves pancakes," because food is her love language. Sabrina is a nurse who puts the care of others above herself. She even tends to Eric's wounds when he sustains a severe concussion during their first encounter with the couple.
Each of the four represents a facet of humanity. Eric describes Leonard as guidance, Redmond as malice, Adriane as sustenance, and Sabrina as healing. Each of them aligns with one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Biblical figures that herald the end of the world, and when they are sacrificed, their Horseman's awesome and terrible power is unleashed on humanity. The final Horseman is, of course, Death. With Leonard's death, Death comes for them all unless Andrew and Eric finally make a choice.
Why Were Eric, Andrew, and Wen Chosen in "Knock at the Cabin"?
Although the film casts a lot of doubt on the true motives of Leonard's group, ultimately, it seems their actions were not motivated by hate. Instead, it's believed that the purity of their family's love is what made them the perfect candidates for the sacrifice that saves humanity. Leonard says that he believes that's why their visions lead them to this family. Eric later confirms that he believes it had to be them because there's nothing purer than their love for each other. The best among them must make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good because they're likely the only ones who will.
What Does the Ending of "Knock at the Cabin" Mean?
Religion has been a hot topic since the dawn of time, and while it still plays a huge part in many people's lives today, blind faith is met with skepticism. Leonard's group, however, is fully committed and believes in what they are doing wholeheartedly, even though some of them admit they were never religious people.
Andrew's family represents a more modernized view of belief. With so much misinformation, hate speech, and lies easily spread throughout the world today, being skeptical of most things has become commonplace. Andrew stays skeptical, putting the survival of his family above all else, as most would do. Eric and Wen, however, are swayed, and eventually, give into the belief that something supernatural is happening. It may be unexplainable and illogical, but it is real.
The film itself leaves many things up in the air. With many of the acts of violence happening offscreen and many questions left unanswered, it's up to the audience to decide what to believe.
Leonard's group could have targeted the family on purpose. As Andrew claimed, they could have been timing their sacrifices with things that they were already aware would be happening, like the tsunami and the prerecorded coverage of the outbreak. The events ceasing after Eric's death could all be a coincidence.
Or the audience can choose to believe that Leonard's group was honest, that they were the Four Horsemen, and Eric's sacrifice saved humanity. The entire film is a clever interpretation of what faith means and how far people are willing to go for their beliefs.