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Knock At The Cabin Twist Explained-Rupert Grint’s Redmond Is The Key To Everything

M. Night Shyamalan’s film Knock At The Cabin might be the most straightforward of all his films. There is no big twist, no shocking reveal, only sadness, and hope. Regardless of your feelings about Knock At The Cabin, you were probably left with some questions as the credits closed on the film. Although it was not as ambiguous as the novel it’s based on by Paul Tremblay, there are still some lingering questions. When four strangers show up at Andrew and Eric’s isolated cabin in Philadelphia, declaring themselves reluctant messengers of the end of the world, the couple must decide how far they are willing to go to save themselves and possibly the world.

The four people who knock on Andrew and Eric’s door all believe they are on a mission to save the world. Leonard, Bautista’s hulking leader, explains they each represent a facet of humanity. Three of them are attributed to be admired. They are the best things about humans. Leonard is guidance, Sabrina is healing, Adriane is the nurturer, and Rupert Grint’s(Servant) character Redmond is malice. Although the other three become sympathetic harbingers of disaster, Redmond is the most important of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, as imagined by Shyamalan. He is the first to die and has the least screen time, but his message is critical to Andrew and Eric’s final decision.

Rupert Grint Redmond O'Bannon Knock At The Cabin
Official Trailor Screengrab

Andrew and Rupert, Grint’s Redmond, have more in common than we think.

Andrew and Eric don’t believe the group early on. How could they? It is an absurd story that loses credibility the minute Andrew recognizes Grint’s Redmond as a man named O’Bannon who brutally attacked him years ago in a bar. He was drunk, bigoted, and vicious. Andrew, who has always had a temper, threw himself into training to regain some of the control he lost. He learned to fight and to shoot, desperately clawing back some of the safety O’Bannon took from him.

Their collective response speaks volumes about the differences between Andrew and Eric. Eric is sweet and hopeful. He is tender and kind and chooses to avoid danger rather than fight against it. He doesn’t take chances, nor does he rail against circumstances. Eric retains a childlike wonder that allows for optimism to flourish. Andrew doesn’t worry about the small stuff like sunscreen and catching colds because he is preoccupied with the big-picture injustices. He is comfortable with the many life dangers surrounding us but distrusts everyone but Eric. He’s practical and angry. When Leonard, Redmond, Adriane, and Sabrina arrive at the cabin, their decision is made long before anyone realizes it, and it all stems from Redmond.

Because Andrew shares some of the same wrath as Redmond, making him and Eric have to choose to end one of their lives to save humanity, it sets up the ultimate redemptive arch. Their sacrifice frees Andrew from his anger. It’s not fair and, without question, an injustice that no one should endure, yet it is what was asked. Andrew is not violent and wouldn’t hurt anyone purposefully like Redmond, but he is still full of rage and fear. When he shoots Eric, he rejects his angry, resentful, and terrified side and accepts Eric’s gifts. He chooses forgiveness and hope.

Why Redmond/O’Bannon is so important

At first, it seems Rupert Grint’s Redmond’s name change proves that the group is insane. Andrew tells Eric he recognizes the man as his attacker and tries to convince everyone that a message board and an overzealous cult leader have duped them. Ultimately, that proves false; one by one, the horseman releases flood, plague, disease, and fire from the sky. If not for Redmond, Andrew would be unable to learn from his sacrifice. This family was chosen because their love was pure. It was also chosen because Andrew needed to forgive. Whether you agree that Redmond deserves forgiveness is irrelevant. His role in the process was to drive doubt just as it was in life. Andrew’s role was to rise above and find peace. We needed malice, the human trait Redmond represented, to really be informed about what Andrew was sacrificing for.

Humans are messy and flawed and do the wrong thing more than the right. They are also capable of great compassion and kindness. Without the bad, we would not understand just how great the good is. It is impossible not to examine the religious undertones of Knock At The Cabin. The God presented in the film is an Old Testament fire and brimstone God who constantly demands sacrifices and tests us. The same God tested Abraham by asking him to kill his son Isaac. He isn’t about forgiveness as much as obedience. Each horseman is sent to slaughter because they are tools more than humans, regardless of their value to society. Arguably the least valuable member is Redmond because of his prior bad acts. Presumably, this wasn’t the first time he reacted violently to someone. He is the hardest to find something redeemable in.

When Andrew and Eric choose to save the world for Wen, they are also choosing to see the value in people like Redmond/O’Bannon. O’Bannon changes his name in hopes of making the decision easier for the family. It wasn’t about deception as much as it was necessary. What he didn’t understand, though, is they needed to see what he represented in order to commit to the sacrifice fully. If he presented another positive attribute, there would be no conflict. The only question would be if the pair believed the intruders or not. Redmond provided doubt simply by being there. Eventually, he provided symmetry to the story and Andrew’s character arch.

Knock At The Cabin is mainly about the things that make us human. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all presented, and all demand understanding. However, Andrew and Eric’s sacrifice is more meaningful because they chose to save the world for everyone, even the Redmonds of the world. Rupert Grint, who has done such excellent work on Servant, shines in the briefest of emotional scenes that prove even the worst of us can be forgiven. Without Grint, the story would have been saccharine and trite. With him, it is an example of humanity’s capacity for love. Andrew chose to kill Eric to save Wen, but he knew he was also saving people like Redmond. At that moment, he decided to believe there were more Leonards than O’Bannons in the world, which was something worth saving.