Arcadian – REVIEW

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Arcadian - Nicolas Cage in a cracking creature feature

Arcadian sees a country invaded by wave upon wave of unwanted voracious aliens but despite that it is not set on the Kent coastline instead this is an non specific dystopian future which right from the start sees Paul (Nicolas Cage) cowering in the backstreets , sirens wailing and running for his life like Boris Johnson fleeing his mistresses bedroom when her husband gets home. Paul pauses only to rescue his  two baby boys hidden out of sight from public gaze – again it could be easy to mistake this as The Boris Johnson Story but with the film spooling forward fifteen  years the babies have grown up to be Joseph (Jaeden Martell) and Thomas (Maxwell Jenkins) and the three of them live together on a remote house in the country. All is still not well – its dusk and Paul is outside anxiously awaiting the return of Thomas and it is clear that the darkness holds some untold danger.

It soon becomes apparent theirs lives are in danger when something outside tries to break into the house leaving deep claw marks on the door that is either an insistent 7th Day Adventist determined to sell a copy of The Watchtower or a creature determined to kill them and the darkness is when the humans are most at risk. The teenage boys are the antithesis of each other : Tom is the impetuous ne’er do well already having a dalliance with Charlotte (Sadie Soyerall) a teenage daughter at the neighbours farmhouse whereas Joseph is the studious thoughtful one and the pair of them are at each other’s throats, something the creatures will be doing if they’re not careful.

So it’s when Thomas on a sojourn to see Charlotte that things go awry when he falls down a deep crevice in the countryside on his way home and the darkness is quickly closing in. From here there’s a series of decent set pieces notably an exceptionally creepy one that sees Joseph falls asleep alone on the house as Paul goes off to look for Thomas. Not wanting to spoil the stand out scene but it is worth the price of admission alone and is made even more worthwhile when we do get to see the creatures. They are a terrific and terrifying piece of design and the limited budget has been well spent on them and the effects.

Fans of Nicolas Cage might be disappointed that he really takes something of a secondary role and mercifully leaves behind his usual on screen histrionics for a far more low key characterization. Written by Mike Nilon and directed by Benjamin Brewer they’ve made a highly effective 90 minute horror thriller. This is Brewer’s first feature film and previously provided the visual effects for ‘Everything Everywhere all at Once’ but this shows a sure footed understanding of genre with the aforementioned set piece being the films standout scene. Nilon on the other hand has produced several Cage films most recently including ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’ and the under rated ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ (a far better variant of Five Nights at Freddys). Arcadian has nods to Aliens and A Quiet Place but ultimately this is  the sort of film that Saturday nights were made for.

related feature : ‘Sting’ director Kiah Roache-Turner talks giant spiders, scary sets and Schwarzenegger!

related feature : The best and worst Predator films…….

Here’s the Arcadian trailer….

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