When Ben Aldridge (“Spoiler Alert,” “Pennyworth,” “Fleabag”) spoke to The Hollywood Reporter this week, he said without this modification:
“I think it would’ve been unwatchable, and I’m so glad it was changed because I would’ve hated to have acted that. I could have, of course, but I like the choice Night made. Besides that choice, I was shocked by the end of the book, and I was shocked again by Night’s change. But I think Night’s change is potentially more satisfying for an audience member. In the book, that literary ending of ‘what!?’ works amazingly on the page, but as an audience member, there needs to be more satisfaction than that. So I respect Night’s flip on that as well.”
In addition to improving audience palatability, as Aldridge points out, the change might also send a better message. As Erik explains to Andrew in the finale, destiny chose their family to save humanity because their love is not bonded by blood but by intention and choice. The film, therefore, is more thematically consistent with the actual contribution parents of adoption make to the collective good by ensuring more children grow up in loving homes.
The real twist in “Knock at the Cabin” is how Shyamalan deviates from the source material to offer a more traditional cinematic conclusion. Contrasting that to “Old,” which only fits in a surprise ending through a subplot that is absent in the Swiss graphic novel, “Sandcastle” on which it’s based, perhaps his latest work is a sign Shyamalan is maturing as a writer and storyteller. If he continues making creative decisions that emphasize his films’ themes rather than shock audiences out of obligation, Shyamalan’s upcoming projects, adapted or original, might just keep the director on a hot streak.