Knock At The Cabin Ending Explained: Breaking Down The Conclusion Of M. Night Shyamalan’s New Horror Movie

Nikki Amuka-Bird, Dave Bautista, and Rupert Grint stand in a line in the cabin in Knock at the Cabin.
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains massive spoilers for Knock At The Cabin. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!

Thanks to the legacy of The Sixth Sense, there is always a little extra anticipation that comes with watching a new M. Night Shyamalan movie. The filmmaker clearly likes big twists, and part of the experience of watching his films is waiting to discover a big secret or answer that is lurking behind everything. His latest, Knock At The Cabin, certainly fits well into this canon, and audiences are now witnessing it for themselves.

What happens at the end of Knock At The Cabin? How do the events that play out reflect on everything that came before it? And what will the aftermath be? We break all of that down in our latest endings explained feature.

Ben Aldridge in Knock At The Cabin

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

What Happens At The End Of Knock At The Cabin?

Knock At The Cabin’s ending really begins when Leonard (Dave Bautista) sacrifices himself to usher in the final wave of the apocalypse: darkness. After he slits his throat, the sky fills with storm clouds, and lightning strikes begin – starting a fire. With Wen (Kristen Cui) away from the action in a tree house, Eric (Jonathan Groff) and Andrew (Ben Aldridge) go back into the cabin, the latter taking his gun back from Leonard.

With only a few minutes left before the apocalypse is said to become irreversible, a distressed Eric once again says that he saw a figure behind Redmond (Rupert Grint) when he died, and while Andrew says that he believes him, he simply wants all three of them to just leave together. Eric responds saying that there is no life for their family wandering in darkness alone, and wonders if families are put in their circumstance all the time. Finally sure of what’s going on, he explains that Leonard, Redmond, Sabrina (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Adriane (Abby Quinn) were all sent because they represent different aspects of humanity: guidance, malice, healing, and nurturing. He identifies them as the four horsemen of the apocalypse and tells Andrew that they needed to feel their loss.

Andrew can’t accept the idea of making the sacrifice, but Eric tells him to kill him while he is having a vision of the future where an older Andrew and an adult Wen (Saria Chen) are happy and living normal lives together. Off screen, Andrew shoots and kills his husband, making the sacrifice that was asked of the family at the beginning.

In the tree house, Wen is safe and waiting when Andrew comes to get her, and she asks him, “Did Daddy Eric save everyone?” Andrew embraces her and together the climb down. Rain begins to fall, and we see that the cabin is completely engulfed in flames. The father and daughter walk through the forest until they find a blue pickup that has the keys inside. They drive, wondering if the apocalypse has been averted, and they pull into the parking lot of a diner. When they go inside, patrons and staff are all watching the news. In the areas impacted by the tsunami, waters levels are going down; the death rate from the plague has slowed down; and planes have started arriving safely at their planned destinations. Everyone is relieved.

Back in the car, the rain having stopped, Andrew finds various items from Leonard, Redmond, Sabrina and Adriane, confirming that they were all who they said they were. With the car idling, Andrew switches on the radio, and the song they happen to hear is KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes – a favorite of Eric’s. He stoically switches it off. A moment later, Wen reaches to the radio and turns it back on. She lets the song play for a moment, but then she herself turns it off. After a beat, it’s Andrew’s turn once again to let the music play, and it does as they drive off.

So what does this all mean? Allow us to break it down.

Kristen Cui, Jonathan Groff and Ben Aldridge in Knock At The Cabin

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Were Leonard And The Others Telling The Truth About The Apocalypse?

The plot of Knock At The Cabin hinges on an unknown: have Leonard, Redmond, Sabrina and Adriane truly experienced divine visions foretelling the apocalypse, or are they home invaders who specifically targeted Andrew and Eric in expression of hate? By the end of the film, it’s made clear that the former is the truth.

There is suggestion throughout the film that the group isn’t being honest with the protagonists – with the standouts being Redmond lying about his identity (his name is Rory O’Bannon, and he once went to jail for assaulting Andrew) and the news reports seeming questionable. That being said, by the time that Sabrina dies, it’s pretty clear how real everything is. While natural disasters and sickness are indeed regular subjects in news broadcasts, there is no misunderstanding what is going on when more than 700 airplanes simply fall out of the sky with no warning (including one that is in the air space above the cabin).

Of course, there is also no explaining why all of the disasters would stop following Eric’s death unless it was because of his sacrifice.

What Andrew finds in the car only further confirms the honesty from the antagonists. There is a diploma signed by a bunch of Leonard’s students, Sabrina’s badge from the hospital where she works as a nurse, a photo of Adriane with her son Charlie, and Rory’s ID from the gas company where he was employed. With the exception of Rory’s real name, all of this evidence syncs up with the information that was delivered when they first introduced themselves.

Kristen Cui in Knock at the Cabin.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Who's Left At The End Of Knock At The Cabin, And Where Do They Go?

When the story really gets going in Knock At The Cabin, there are seven characters in the titular domicile – but by the end of the movie, only two survive. Eric, Leonard, Redmond, Sabrina and Adriane are all sacrificed, and Andrew and Wen are the only ones left.

So what does the future hold for them? If we want to be optimistic, we could say that Eric’s vision is meant to be understood as prophecy. If so, Andrew and Wen will remain close for years to come and live what appear to be normal lives. If we’re being a bit more realistic, it’s not terribly hard to imagine things going in a dark direction.

By the end of the story, the father and daughter have gone through a horrific and traumatizing ordeal… and they really can’t tell anybody about it. Much in the same way that the protagonists don’t believe that Leonard, Redmond, Sabrina and Adriane are trying to prevent the apocalypse, Andrew and Wen probably aren’t going to be able to convince anyone that Eric died to save the world. They’ll have only each other for support, and while that will forge a strong parent/child relationship, one doesn’t have to use much imagination to foretell some psychological issues eventually cropping up.

I also can’t help but wonder what Andrew is going to tell the authorities. He’ll have to tell people that Eric is dead, and while he can say that his husband committed suicide, that’s not going to be a reasonable answer when the cops find Eric’s burned corpse along with the bodies of the doomsayers. He’s going to have to spin up a very complicated lie if he is going to try and explain everything away and not tarnish the memories of the man he loved and a group of strangers who died trying to save humanity.

For more reading about M. Night Shyamalan’s third acts, you can check out our ranking of his twists, and head over to our explainers for his other films – including the Unbreakable ending, the Split ending, the Glass ending, and the Old ending. You can also check out our 2023 Movie Release Calendar to learn about all of the big releases scheduled to arrive in the coming months.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.