Home » Arcadian

There is an interesting scene in the post-apocalyptic horror-drama “Arcadian” where two teenagers have a game of saying how they think the previous world ended in less than 10 seconds. This is quite smart; it’s an exposition that could not have come up in normal conversations among this movie’s people, who live so far away from any form of extinction and thus do not know how a lot of life was destroyed on earth. It also seems a bit cheap in that it raises expectation about what really happened years ago such as some big reveal. Consequently, it is somewhat disappointing but also relieving when one realizes that Benjamin Brewer’s lean creature feature remains present save for its allusions to contaminated natural resources and some kind of infestation. Despite the teasing, no further bombshells (and not much meaningful environmental subtext) are forthcoming.

Firstly, Arcadian does such a good job at doing this at first that you cannot be sure if there are any monsters at all. Clearly, Paul (Nicolas Cage) has remained relatively cut off from society with his sons Joseph (Jaeden Martell) and Thomas (Maxwell Jenkins). They inhabit a small house which they must lock each night against mysterious intruders banging at one side of the door – another simple decision which adds to the creepiness of the film even more because it is implied these characters are used to protecting themselves from intrusion. They’re not alone in their abandoned neighborhood; although there is an even bigger and fancier farm just down the road where Thomas often stays ostensibly to help out but really to see Charlotte (Sadie Soverall), another kid his own age.

This looks like setting up a clash between an overly protective parent and an adventurous child trying sometimes rashly to explore more than he knows. Nevertheless, together with enforcing curfew times and assigning chores, Paul manages to tolerate what Thomas likes while blaming himself for some bad decisions by the kid. Despite having a reputation for being dramatic, Cage does not play Paul as overly intense. Instead, the film moves its primary conflict to the siblings. There is more tension generated by The movie when Thomas breaks away from their family routine and gets Joseph who is less rebellious or courageous than his brother to feel bitter- although nothing close to what it would have been if they had been attacked by truly terrifying nocturnal creatures.

These creatures are designed with fast and unpredictable stammers of movement and sometimes humanlike arms that appear to have been stretched to impossible lengths during one unforgettable slow-burning scene. They’re somewhere between MonsterVerse skullcrawler’s and Quiet Place Death Angel’s, often staying mostly hidden in the shadows, supported by low-budget but resourceful visual effects captured at dusk or dawn. Unfortunately, this darkness occasionally also obscures human beings.

Cage’s absence is likely intentional. His presence in this film is that of a secondary character, which may disappoint some of his ardent fans but serves the narrative very well. Arcadian parallels his recent high batting average; Brewer had previously collaborated with Cage on the enjoyable thriller The Trust (2016), indicating early on that there was a possibility of him moving from one B-movie to another. It could have been seen as a cheap Arcadian straight to VOD film in 2011; rather than appearing on Shudder first, it would go to theatres before 2024 version does so; however, it is a mishmash between Knowing’s sincere pulpiness and the quiet countryside charm of Joe although not nearly as visually glossy as either previous Cage flick. Arcadian nonetheless operates smoothly within its own familiar genre trappings (and at under ninety minutes sans credits) by providing a dirty yet vibrant glimpse of a fallen world overrun by monsters. Maybe the movie was right to leave the world’s end up to speculation.


The quiet atmosphere with which A Quiet Place managed to make an impressive mark among audiences will probably mean no surprises for anyone who watches Arcadian, an equally intimate creature feature. Nonetheless, aficionados of horror/sci-fi who can appreciate new takes on things that go bump in the night should be happy with what this low-budget film has done with its use of special effects and designs. Amongst Nicolas Cage’s more respectable B-flicks, this ranks highly.

Watch free movies on Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top