From children who can see dead people to beaches that make you old, M Night Shyamalan has always loved a madcap premise – and his latest film Knock at the Cabin is no different.


The thriller follows events after four mysterious strangers – armed with very threatening weapons – show up uninvited at a cabin where a young family had been enjoying a peaceful holiday, only to give them a dire warning: the apocalypse is coming, and it can only be prevented if one of them sacrifices themselves.

That might not seem like something that would happen in real life – and Shyamalan has never been one to be particularly concerned with realism – but some cinemagoers have been wondering if there is any real-life case that inspired him to write the movie.

Read on for everything you need to know.

Is Knock at the Cabin based on a true story?

No, the film is very much a work of fiction – adapted from the novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay (although Shyamalan has made some major changes to the book's ending in his film).

That said, the film was partly inspired by real-life fears about the pandemic and climate change, with Tremblay and Shyamalan seemingly both keen to tap into modern-day anxieties.

"I think it's in the collective social conscience that kind of thing could happen," star Ben Aldridge explained in an exclusive interview with

"The fact that we've had COVID, the fact that we lived through the pandemic, the fact that we are very aware of a climate crisis. And I think he's playing on very real fears of ours, and what he's really doing is he's making you think about a family, which we can all relate to."

Abby Quinn Nikki Amuka-Bird, Dave Bautista and Rupert Grint in Knock at the Cabin
Abby Quinn Nikki Amuka-Bird, Dave Bautista and Rupert Grint in Knock at the Cabin. Universal Pictures

“We’ve all been through a pandemic, we all collectively went through our worst fear together and it was palpable at certain times, certainly at the beginning,” added Nikki Amuka-Bird, who stars as Sabrina, one of the four strangers.

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“I think generally what the film does is it taps into those kinds of niggling anxieties that we’re all living with all the time, even with climate change. It’s like, we don’t have an answer and then when we read the information it is terrifying. So we have to kind of find a way to cope with the information.

“I think what Night does is he brings those fears to the forefront and he changes the clock on those fears. He says: what if those things you were worried about happening in the future were happening now? And that’s what really kind of ratchets up the action and the suspense and makes it a visceral ride of a movie.”

Read more: Knock at the Cabin star: "It's one of the most terrifying things I've read"

Knock at the Cabin is showing now in UK cinemas, while Paul Tremblay's book The Cabin at the End of the World is also available now.

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