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Arcadian

Well acted, claustrophobic and wound tight, ARCADIAN delivers a surprisingly effective creature feature.

As the film opens, we see a lone man, Paul (Nicolas Cage) scavenging across a strange landscape. Post apocalyptic, walled like a prison, its a strange and confusing world you can't quite put your finger on. He returns to a cave where he cradles his two twin babies.

Flashing forward 15 years, those twins are played by talented actors Jaeden Martell (Defending Jacob, It) and Maxwell Jenkins (Netflix' Lost in Space).

The boys work alongside their Dad, but as sundown approaches, they barricade themselves inside their farm, shutting and reinforcing every window, every door.

As night falls, unseen predators try to slam their way inside, banging on every door and nearly bursting through.

While it's an intense attack, the guys go about their business the next day. While Thomas (Jenkins) heads to a nearby farm to help their neighbors, Joseph (Martell) stays home, working on ways to fortify their stance.

When Thomas begins to fall for the teen girl next door, Charlotte (Sadie Soverall), he gets distracted (as teen boys in love do) and leaves far too late to make it home before sundown.

In his rush, he falls into a ravine, starting off a series of events that pull all the characters into escalating action and danger.

I loved the way that each scene feeds the next. As Paul is pulled out of the house to search for Thomas, every character is forced into unknown territory, driving plenty of suspense.

Cage makes a lot of films, that's no secret, but while the budget here may not be massive, the filmmakers spend every dollar well, creating creatures that don't disappoint. Cage is NOT calling it in as Paul, even though he spends plenty of the film flat on his back.

With the scariest, fast snapping jaws since HR Giger's xenomorphs in the Alien series, the creatures also have some damn clever extending claws that reminded me of the Terminator series. You'll know exactly what "T2" scene I'm talking about.

The last twenty minutes, everything reaches a fever pitch in all the right ways.

Martell is a great young actor that knows his way around horror. His role as Bill Denbrough in Stephen King's "It" and "It Chapter Two" showed a young actor in total control. Martell is aging well, bringing another layer of desperation and will to the role of Joseph. He's excellent.

It's no "A Quiet Place", but ARCADIAN overachieves, keeping you on the edge of your seat far more effectively than plenty of films with five times its budget.

Those snapping jaws are just plain crazy, chomping up a solid B-.




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