May 24, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Nicolas Cage Stars in Arcadian: A Bewitching Apocalypse

New Horror Film Delivers Solid Monster Movie Experience

Arcadian is a new horror film starring Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario, Mandy), Jaeden Martell (It, Knives Out), Maxwell Jenkins (Lost In Space), and Sadie Soverall (Saltburn). It was written by Michael Nilon and directed by Ben Brewer, who was the lead visual effects artist for Everything Everywhere All at Once. It’s a very solid monster movie and a bewitching apocalypse. It is now playing in theatres, including Lumiere Music Hall in Beverly Hills, and you can purchase tickets here

Watch the trailer here:

The synopsis for the film is as follows: In the near future, normal life on Earth has been decimated. Paul and his two sons, Thomas and Joseph, have been living a half-life – tranquility by day and torment by night. Every night, after the sun sets, they face the unrelenting attacks of a mysterious and violent evil. One day, when Thomas doesn’t return home before sundown, Paul must leave the safety of their fortified farm to find him. A nightmarish battle ensues that forces the family to execute a desperate plan to survive.

While some have compared the film to A Quiet Place, I think it is more of a throwback to the natural horror film Day of the Triffids from 1963. The monsters responsible for the destruction of civilization are mostly kept off-screen in a wise move to increase tension, but when they arrive, with sneaky tentacles and a horrific clacking sound, they make their mark. 

The film’s cast is one of Arcadian’s biggest assets; with Nicolas Cage, you’ve always got a great performance, and his two sons, played by Martell and Jenkins, work well together and with Cage as their father. The two sons create most of the conflict between each other, with one son, Joseph, a quiet genius who always uses his head, and the other, Paul, a more fiery and rebellious type who brings misfortune upon the family because of his love for Charlotte Rose (Soverall). 

The film’s color palette and style are visceral and striking. While the images tend to be dark, Frank Mobilio’s cinematography is well-lit and gives the film the feel of damp earth. It’s not unpleasant, but it adds to Ben Brewer’s world-building. 

With beautiful imagery, scary monsters, and strong performances, Arcadian is a winner as an individualistic kind of humanistic horror film that leans into the relationships between the survivors and their quirks rather than huge amounts of gore. Not to say that there isn’t blood and violence, but it concentrates on the all too human failings that might have led to our destruction.

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