Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!
'Knock at the Cabin' twist ending and post-credits sequence, explained
Here's how M. Night Shyamalan's latest movie ends.
They claim that, unless this family decides to willingly sacrifice one of themselves, the world will end. The family, naturally, thinks they’re either lying or crazy — or both. Shyamalan says he went to great lengths to keep the audience guessing throughout the film, but there is indeed an ending and definitive answer.
So, what happens at the end of Knock at the Cabin? (And while we’re at it, is there a post-credits sequence?) Now that we’ve vamped enough to get to a clearly marked spoiler warning, let’s explain the ending of Knock at the Cabin, which is now in theaters.
**Warning: This post about the ending of Knock at the Cabin contains spoilers for the end of Knock at the Cabin.**
The movie, which is based on Paul G. Tremblay’s novel The Cabin at the End of the World, opens with married couple Eric and Andrew (Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge) and their daughter Wen (Kristen Cui) vacationing at a cabin they rented. Shortly after, four strangers Leonard (Dave Bautista), Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird), Adriane (Abby Quinn), and Redmond (Rupert Grint) break in and take them hostage. The four of them are strangers but they all started receiving visions that lead them to this point, and they claim that if Eric, Andrew, and Wen don’t kill one of their loved ones, it will be the apocalypse. If they don’t make a decision soon, there will be four disasters that befall humanity until the end.
At first, Eric and Andrew don’t believe it, even though Eric has a concussion he suffered during the initial break-in. Even when the disasters start happening — each seemingly sparked by the preordained, ritualistic killing of one of the four intruders — they don’t believe it. Redmond dies and they watch a tsunami hit the Pacific Northwest on TV (but not before Shyamalan makes a cameo.) Adriane dies and there are reports of a worsening pandemic on TV. But, maybe these are coincidences. Andrew alleges that the news reports are prerecorded, and Leonard was checking his watch in order to turn on the TV at the exact right time to make it look like there’s a connection. His suspicion is worsened when he thinks he recognizes Redmond as the man who once assaulted him in a bar because he was gay — and he eventually confirms that it’s the same man.
But, the coincidences get harder to explain. When Andrew escapes bondage and gets his gun from the car, he shoots and fatally wounds Sabrina, prompting Leonard to finish the ritual that harkens the third disaster. They turn on the news report to see that hundreds of airplanes are falling from the sky, killing thousands. After a brief struggle, Leonard makes a final plea. After he kills himself and the final disaster — unceasing lightning followed by darkness — begins, Eric and Andrew will still have a few minutes to make the choice and stave off the end times. Leonard slits his own throat, and the skies darken, lightning strikes, and they even see a plane fall from the sky in real time. Clearly, this is actually happening. The question now is, would killing a member of their family stop it, and if so, can they bring themselves to go through with it?
Earlier in the film, Eric said that he thought he saw something — a figure of light — behind Redmond before his execution, which initially he and Andrew both wrote off as a symptom of his concussion. But, now he believes it was something more. Eric believes in what the four invaders were saying and he asks Andrew, the love of his life, to kill him. He’s at peace, he says, and he tells the reticent Andrew about the future he wants for him and their daughter. Andrew shoots Eric, killing him.
Andrew then rejoins Wen, who he had told to wait in a treehouse. Wen, intuiting what happened, asks if they saved the world through their actions, and at first Andrew doesn’t know. They walk to Redmond’s truck and start driving. The weather has cleared, but they don’t see anybody. Did Eric die in time? Was it all for nothing? Would it have mattered?
They drive until they reach a diner, which is full of people. Inside, the stunned group of patrons are switching between TV channels, where news reports about tsunami recovery, plummeting pandemic death rates, and the safe landing of remaining airplanes let Andrew and Wen know that Leonard and Co. were right, and that their horrible sacrifice wasn’t for nothing. They get back into the truck and turn on the radio, which is blasting KC and The Sunshine Band’s song “Boogie Shoes.” An earlier flashback revealed that the happy family had been singing along to this very song as they drove to the cabin. Andrew turns it off, Wen turns it back on before turning it off herself, and finally, Andrew turns it back on before they drive away. It’s a tragic, sweet, and darkly funny ending to the film.
At no point is the nature of the apocalypse or the source of the four invaders’ visions explained. It is not explained in the book the film is based on, The Cabin at the End of the World, either. (The book has a different and much darker ending. In the novel, Wen is accidentally shot and killed, and as a result, Eric and Andrew decide to let the end of the world happen, not wanting to leave each other alone nor to go along with the whims of whatever god or power decided Wen’s accidental death wasn’t enough.)
Those looking for an explicit explanation for the events of the films are going to be disappointed. These things just happened. Maybe this happens all the time, and strangers are driven to enact the will of some higher power and prompt a loving family to make such a horrible sacrifice. Maybe this was a one-off. That the mystery, as fantastical as it is, is never explained, is part of Knock at the Cabin’s haunting power.
There is no post-credits sequence after the credits roll, but there is an Easter egg of sorts. At the very end of the credits, the name of the film, Knock at the Cabin, appears again. It’s accompanied by the sound of Leonard knocking on the cabin door.
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
Knock at the Cabin is now streaming on Peacock.