Wen (Kristen Cui) holds up a dandelion in the poster for M. Night Shyamalan's Knock at the Cabin

Knock, Knock

Knock at the Cabin trailer gets roasted online for one bizarre mistake

Let’s talk about M. Night Shyamalan’s newest thriller.

Knock at the Cabin is an adaptation of a 2018 horror novel, but you could easily be forgiven for not knowing that.

The first trailer for the new film from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan dropped online earlier this week, teasing another contained, quirky thriller that feels tonally in line with several of the filmmaker’s past efforts — namely, Old, Split, and Glass. Unlike those latter two films, though, Knock at the Cabin is an adaptation of pre-existing source material.

The film’s trailer weirdly doesn’t mention that. As a matter of fact, the first teaser for Knock at the Cabin seems to go out of its way to avoid noting that it is anything other than a new thriller from one of the world’s most well-known, if divisive, filmmakers.

The Trailer — Knock at the Cabin is based on author Paul Tremblay’s acclaimed 2018 novel, The Cabin at the End of the World, and it appears to have stuck fairly close to the premise of that book. The film’s trailer, at least, teases a story similar to the one told in Tremblay’s novel, which follows a family of three as they are taken hostage in a secluded cabin by a group of strangers who demand that they make a difficult decision in order to prevent the end of the world.

Despite its clear connections to Tremblay’s book, the trailer for Knock at the Cabin only includes one writing-related title card, which credits Shyamalan, Steve Desmond, and Michael Sherman as the film’s screenwriters. There isn’t any mention of Tremblay or his novel anywhere else in the Knock at the Cabin trailer. Fortunately, fans of the film’s source material have been quick to point out the trailer’s odd marketing technique in the days since it was released.

On Twitter, several users called out Universal Pictures’ decision to leave Tremblay’s name out of the trailer for Knock at the Cabin. Tremblay himself even joked in one tweet that his name must have been “written in black ink” underneath the writing credits that appear at the end of the Knock at the Cabin teaser. Even well-known horror directors and writers like Stephen King and Mike Flanagan have been quick to note in their tweets about the film that Knock at the Cabin is an adaptation of Tremblay’s book.

Dave Bautista is set to star as Leonard, the leader of a group of strangers who take an unsuspecting family hostage, in Knock at the Cabin.Universal Pictures

The Inverse Analysis — Given his popularity, it makes sense for the Knock at the Cabin trailer to go out of its way to spotlight Shyamalan’s involvement in the film more than any of its other contributors.

However, it’s still undeniably weird that the trailer totally avoids mentioning the film’s source material, especially considering how beloved it clearly is among horror fans. The fact that Knock at the Cabin is one of the few films Shyamalan has made up to this point that is based on a pre-existing story only makes that decision even stranger.

All of which is to say: Here’s to hoping the second trailer for Knock at the Cabin manages to fix the biggest mistake of its first.

Knock at the Cabin hits theaters on February 3, 2023.

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