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Knock at the Cabin ending explained: So, was it all real or not?

M Night Shyamalan takes a big diversion from the book.

Knock at the Cabin has ended Avatar: The Way of Water's long reign at the US box office, and the ending of M Night Shyamalan's new thriller will surely have had fans talking over this past weekend.

Based on Paul Tremblay's The Cabin at the End of the World, the new movie sees a young girl and her parents taken hostage by four armed strangers while they're vacationing at a remote cabin.

The intruders then ask the parents to make an unthinkable choice to sacrifice one of their family in order to stop the apocalypse. But are the intruders really telling the truth and can the family risk it with the world (potentially) at stake?

Things get very dark in the cabin, but if you've read the book, you'll know that it could have been even darker as Shyamalan has changed things up for the movie adaptation. (It's partly why he called it a different name to the book too.)

So let's delve into Knock at the Cabin's ending to explain any questions you may have, as well as revealing how events play out in the original book. Major spoilers are ahead for both versions.

kristen cui, knock at the cabin

Knock at the Cabin ending explained

After the four strangers break into the cabin, their leader Leonard (Dave Bautista) outlines the terrible choice that Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) have to make. If they don't choose to sacrifice one of themselves or their daughter Wen (Kristin Cui), then they'll survive, but the world will end.

There's also an untold consequence as every time they say no, one of the strangers will be killed and a 'plague' unleashed on humanity. Redmond (Rupert Grint) is the first to be killed and after his death, news reports on the TV show a devastating earthquake has caused a tsunami on the west coast of the USA.

This is one of the visions that Leonard and his group supposedly saw, proof that the apocalypse is coming. However, after learning they first spoke online, Andrew believes the group have a "shared delusion" and it's Redmond – who attacked Andrew in a bar years earlier – who led the group to the cabin to attack Andrew again.

Andrew and Eric say no again, leading to Adriane (Abby Quinn) being sacrificed and after that, the news reports centre on a deadly virus that is fatal to children. Andrew still believes it's all nonsense and that the group are timing their sacrifices to pre-recorded news reports, but Eric reveals he saw a vision of a man behind Leonard.

jonathan groff, kristen cui, knock at the cabin

The vision is not enough to sway the pair though, and Andrew manages to break free and retrieve a gun he kept in their car outside. He comes back into the cabin and shoots Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) when she tries to stop him, but Leonard eventually manages to overpower Andrew and take the gun.

In one last attempt to prove they're right, Leonard turns on the TV and the latest news report about planes mysteriously falling from the sky. Leonard appears to know every word of the report before the newsreader says them, claiming he saw the report in his vision.

According to Leonard, this is now the end times and before he kills himself, Leonard tells Eric and Andrew that they have only minutes to make the choice to save the world. The sky starts to darken and things begin to look very apocalyptic, but Andrew still doesn't believe.

Eric explains how he thinks the four intruders were a version of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Malice (Redmond, because he attacked Andrew), Nurturing (Adriane, because she's got a child), Healing (Sabrina, because she was a nurse) and Guidance (Leonard, because he led the whole thing).

abby quinn, nikki amukabird, dave bautista, rupert grint, knock at the cabin

Eric pleads with Andrew to kill him to save the world, as well as ensuring a future for Wen and we see a flash-forward of Wen as a lawyer meeting up with Andrew. Andrew kills Eric and the decision leads to the cabin and forest starting to burn down.

Andrew and Wen escape and use Leonard's car (hidden in the woods) to make their way into town. They visit a diner and on the TV, they see reports of miracles such as the death rate of the virus slowing down and water from the tsunamis starting to recede.

It appears to confirm that Eric's sacrifice really did stop the apocalypse and wasn't in vain. Or perhaps, if you want to think negatively, it was all just one major coincidence as there's no explanation for any of it.

You decide.

abby quinn, dave bautista, rupert grint, knock at the cabin

Knock at the Cabin book changes

As we mentioned, Shyamalan changed events in a major way for the movie and talking to Digital Spy, he revealed he always felt "very strongly" that the movie couldn't end how the book does.

"I was so taken with the setup and so I said, 'I am gonna do a different version of this book. I won't call the movie the same, the fans of the book can just have that and then this is a different artist, interpreting it differently'," he noted.

"I did call Paul and I did tell him what I was gonna do and then he was like, 'I was gonna do that first and then I decided to do this other version' and I was like, 'Great, great, so at least you thought similarly too'."

The movie follows The Cabin at the End of the World up to, and including, Redmond's death. However, the moment when Andrew goes to get the gun is where the book and the move differ dramatically.

Adriane is still alive at this point and Andrew kills her with the gun, before a struggle with Leonard over the gun accidentally leads to Wen being fatally shot. Leonard is devastated by this and agrees to be tied up, although he adds that even though Wen has been killed, it does not count as she was not a willing sacrifice.

Eric's visions play a bigger part in the book as they lead him to turn on the TV, seeing reports of an outbreak of bird flu after Adriane's death. Like in the movie, Eric is concussed during the original break-in to the cabin, so Andrew still doesn't believe what his partner is seeing.

The Cabin at the End of the World


Sabrina appears to give up on their mission and kills Leonard, before offering to lead Eric and Andrew to safety. The third death of the group stills leads to news reports of unexplained plane crashes around the world, and it turns out that Sabrina was lying and still fully believes in their mission.

Like Leonard does in the movie, Sabrina tells the couple that there's still time to prevent the apocalypse and then she kills herself. Eric wants to be sacrificed, but unlike in the movie, Andrew refuses to do so and his logic wins out over Eric's belief.

As the pair head to Redmond's car with Wen's body, the book ends without any definitive conclusion over whether the apocalypse is coming or not.

Knock at the Cabin is out now in cinemas.

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