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Arcadian is a decent creature feature survival thriller

Nicolas Cage and his "Nouveau Shamanic" return to the screen for the in with "Arcadian" from RLJE Films. Benjamin Brewer directs the film from a script by Mike Nilon. The film is set in the grim reality of the near future, where Earth's existence has been drastically reduced to remnants. A lone surviving father, Paul (Nicolas Cage), and his two adolescent sons - Thomas (Jaeden Martell) and Joseph (Maxwell Jenkins), lead an existence marked by fleeting relief during the day that transmutes into unspeakable horror as night falls.

Malevolent nocturnal creatures emerge at sundown, relentlessly hunting all living beings crossing their path. An unsettling event disrupts their routine when, after spending time with Charlotte (Sadie Soverall), another survivor's daughter, Thomas fails to return home before darkness descends. Compelled to breach their fortified sanctuary- a farm insulated from the predators outside- Paul embarks on a dangerous rescue mission for his missing son.

As he successfully locates his boy amidst growing fear and apprehension, they find themselves thrust into a horrifying confrontation with the relentless creatures of nightfall. The encounter leaves Paul critically injured, fighting for survival while spotlighting an urgent responsibility on his twins' shoulders: To utilize every survival skill imparted by their father in crafting a desperate strategy that would carry them through yet another dangerous night ahead without costing them what is dearest—their father's life.

The big draw here regarding the acting is the always enjoyable Cage and Martel. While there are hints of the film going into a Cain & Abel-esque storyline, the film avoids that trope. Martel and Jenkins make for believable brothers, and their rivalry never seems forced. Cage delivers what you would expect in the movie, which should appease his fans. Regretfully, though, the same can't be said for the small supporting cast, who are only here to serve as food for the monsters eventually.

As for the monsters, creature fans should be pleased with their look. The creatives have strategically opted for a gradual introduction of the menacing entities. Without revealing excessive details that would undermine the surprise, this narrative development will resonate well with horror enthusiasts. Upon encountering these creatures, one can observe that the special effects team has remarkably engineered them to resemble colossal insectoid monsters- an uncanny blend of praying mantises and cockroaches. 

A particular unveiling comes unexpectedly- a cleverly executed move on the creatives part. Additionally, the third act unmistakably nods to the iconic 1986 movie Critters, something fans of the genre will appreciate. "Arcadian" wasn't on my radar, but I checked out the trailer after watching the film.

"Arcadian" wasn't on my radar, but I checked out the trailer after watching the film. In that regard, most viewers will go into the film thinking it's a rip-off of "A Quiet Place," but in hindsight, it is. Thankfully, the director and his writer keep the run time short to deliver a decent one-time creature feature watch. 

Final Grade: B

"Arcadian" is in theaters today. If you prefer to stream the film, a Shudder, and AMC+ streaming debut is planned for later in the year.


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