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SYFY WIRE Knock at the Cabin

'Knock at the Cabin' unpacks 'layers of nightmares' in new BTS featurette

"There is no place to run, there's no place to hide."

By Matthew Jackson

Based on the premise alone, Knock at the Cabin looks like it has the potential to be one of M. Night Shyamalan's scariest films. Now, a new featurette is digging deeper into why the film is set to freak us out.

Based on the novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, Knock at the Cabin tells the story of a family -- parents Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) -- who head out to their secluded cabin in the woods for a vacation. This peaceful outing is disturbed in shocking, brutal ways when a group of strangers -- Leonard (Dave Bautista), Adriene (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Sabrina (Abby Quinn), and Redmond (Rupert Grint) -- shows up, wielding improvised weapons and demanding to come in. Once inside, these strangers present the family with what sounds like an impossible scenario: They must choose one of the three of them to die, and if they don't, the world will end. 

"There is no place to run, there's no place to hide. So I think it's like layers of nightmares in this film," Bautista said in a new featurette released Monday by Universal Pictures. 

RELATED: 'Knock at the Cabin' star says film raises 'deep and terrifying questions about truth versus belief'

Based on the trailers, Bautista's absolutely right. The film plays simultaneously like a home invasion thriller and an apocalyptic epic, building stakes both small and grand-scale along the way. Obviously, Eric and Andrew have no intention of choosing someone from their family to die, and they'll do everything they can to try to escape their middle-of-nowhere hideaway. But those plans for escape are upset when it becomes clear that something really is happening in the outside world. Disasters are popping up everywhere, but is that a coincidence, or is it proof of the choice they have to make?

"I'm very drawn to stories of confinement, and telling very large stories through a small window," Shyamalan said. "That restriction, that balance and juxtaposition of the size of the story and the way we're telling it is very exciting to me."

If you've read Tremblay's novel, you know that the story is tailor-made for that kind of film dynamic. The Cabin at the End of the World is simultaneously claustrophobic and epic, and keeps building in new layers of suspense right up until the very end. Of course, there's always the chance that Shyamalan will come up with an ending of his own, so we'll just have to watch and find out.

Knock at the Cabin is in theaters Feb. 3.

Looking for more horror to make your spine tingle and blood curdle? You can currently catch Jordan Peele's NOPE on Peacock. Plus, don't miss SYFY's hit horror series Chucky, which just wrapped its second season.