“Knock at the Cabin” follows a simple but terrifying premise. A young girl named Wen (Kristen Cui) and her parents, Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge), are all taken hostage in the cabin they are vacationing in by four mysterious individuals, who are supposedly doing so to stop the apocalypse from happening. This group’s de facto “leader” is Leonard, played by Dave Bautista. The film is mainly set in the cabin, with intermittent flashbacks, so this single-location film relies heavily on the performances of its actors. In the role of Leonard, Bautista is given more to do than many of the other actors in the film, and he doesn’t disappoint.
Compared to Bautista’s latest role as Duke in “Glass Onion,” the actor plays a much more subdued and reserved character. Still, he manages to be frightening despite doing very little physically. In a delicate balance of his physicality and line delivery, Bautista makes Leonard a tragic figure in the film that viewers empathize with but are nonetheless terrified of. Despite the grave circumstances that bring Leonard to Eric and Andrew’s cabin, Bautista plays the character with a demeanor that’s almost a little too calm. Moreover, how the actor manages to provide exposition and move the plot forward without feeling contrived is also especially impressive