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Arcadian Review: Family Drama Meets Horror, Sci-Fi Thriller

Arcadian is the combination of many well loved genres: family drama, horror, and sci-fi. It features incredible performances and intense moments.

Arcadian review

Arcadian is set in a post-apocalyptic world and perfectly combines several different genres. There have been many end of the world movies and television shows, and this is one of the better ones — especially when you consider that it was done on an independent film budget.

Nicolas Cage plays Paul, a father of twins Thomas (Maxwell Jenkins) and Joseph (Jaeden Martell). The boys have grown up in this environment, so they know nothing of what life used to be life before everything went south. During the day, they live as close to a normal life as they can but when nighttime hits, the monsters come out. 

Thomas has a crush on Charlotte (Sadie Soverall), who lives on a neighboring farm. He is allowed to visit her but of course, the rule is that he must be home by the time it gets dark. One day he is late, forcing his father to go out after him and things take a terrifying turn.

It should come as no surprise that Cage was clearly the right actor for the job. He knows how to be gritty when he needs to be, but he also knows how to deliver heart when it is warranted — and those are the two main themes of the film.

Arcadian review- Nic Cage movie

Jenkins and Martell only elevate Cage’s performance, and the genuine connection between the three of them is what makes this movie work as well as it does. They truly feel like a family just trying to survive.

What is interesting about Arcadian is that the day to day tasks feel normal, even to the point of being mundane. In a world where monsters lurk underground and come out at night, it is hard to believe it could ever get to that point, but at the same time it is refreshing to see that it has. 

The creatures in this film are unique, unlike anything we have seen before. There is something truly intriguing about them and their design. When the audience realizes where the sound they make is coming from, there is sure to be a collective gasp. It is equal parts terrifying and exciting, knowing that we have not yet experienced a monster like this on the screen, not really.

Arcadian review- Nic Cage movie

Arcadian has a solid amount of jump scares, but there are other horror moments as well – ones where viewers will wince and hide behind their fingers. There is something special about a movie that is able to deliver high intensity moments, truly terrifying ones, but also heartwarming and emotional scenes.

This is very much a movie about a family who loves each other dearly, but they are a family and they will bicker. Doing so after the end of the world just might get you in more trouble than you expect to be in, however. 

Sure, not all the pieces of the puzzle come together and some elements would have been better should they have been explored more, but overall this movie makes for a really fun horror movie, with just enough heart mixed in to make you deeply care about the characters — think Love and Monsters.

Thankfully Arcadian is the introduction to this new post-apocalyptic world, so we have our fingers crossed for a sequel. It feels as if there are many places this story can go from here, and like they are just getting started.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Arcadian review- Nic Cage movie

About Arcadian

In a 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. One day, Thomas doesn’t return home on time from a visit to his crush, the nearby farm girl, Charlotte.

Paul chooses to leave the safety of their fortified farm, risking his life to find Thomas. Just as he finds his boy, a nightmarish battle ensues. Back at the house, Joseph is scared and all alone to defend himself against the nightly attack.

Arcadian hits theaters on April 12th.