Written by Michael Nilon (Left Behind, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent) and directed by Benjamin Brewer (Lead Visual Effects Designer, Everything Everywhere All At Once), this terrifying post-apocalyptic horror thriller premiered at South by Southwest this past March. It stars Nicolas Cage, Jaeden Martell (It: Chapters One & Two, Knives Out, Midnight Special), Maxwell Jenkins (Lost in Space, Reacher, Sense8) and Sadie Soverall (Saltburn, Little Bone Lodge and Netflix’s Fate: The Winx Saga).

In a near future where earth has been decimated by an undisclosed catastrophe, Paul (Cage) barely escapes alive from the city alongside his infant twin boys. Years later, Paul and his teenage sons Joseph (Martell) and Thomas (Jenkins) are living in a remote farmhouse miles away from their nearest neighbours at Rose Farm. During the day, the boys and their father work the land and gather provisions, but at night the threesome are under siege from killer creatures that roam the land.

The trio’s quotidian life of humdrum chores and trying to survive each night at a time, is thrown into chaos when Thomas, the more rebellious of the two brothers, fails to return before nightfall one evening. Sick with worry, Paul goes out looking for him, leaving Joseph behind to defend their home. Meanwhile at Rose Farm, Thomas has been harbouring a crush for Charlotte, the teenage daughter of his neighbours.

While many will already be rushing to make comparisons between this and John Krasinski’s brilliantly conceived 2018 sci-fi horror A Quiet Place, in reality, Arcadian owes more of its narrative and pace to Trey Edward Shults’ terrifying 2017 horror It Comes at Night. But while Shults’ movie often uses “the monster at the door” trope in the movie as an allegory for societal fears and anxieties, Arcadian often feels a little too on the nose in a film that leaves almost nothing to the imaginations. Granted, all of these films excel in their own ways by harnessing our deepest and darkest fears of the unknown, but of the three, Arcadian is perhaps the weakest narratively.

Still, there are moments of touching tenderness between Paul and his teenage sons, and some impressive action set pieces sprinkled throughout. This might not be perfect in every way, but it still manages to be hugely engaging at all times thanks to some impressive performances from its young cast.

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Linda Marric
Linda Marric is a senior film critic and the newly appointed Reviews Editor for HeyUGuys. She has written extensively about film and TV over the last decade. After graduating with a degree in Film Studies from King's College London, she has worked in post-production on a number of film projects and other film related roles. She has a huge passion for intelligent Scifi movies and is never put off by the prospect of a romantic comedy. Favourite movie: Brazil.
arcadian-reviewElevated by some impressive action set pieces this engaging film benefits greatly from some impressive performances from its young cast.