Movie Review: Arcadian (Brewer, 2024)

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Movie: Arcadian
Production Companies: Saturn Films, Redline Entertainment, Highland Film Group
Director: Ben Brewer

Producers: Michael Nilon, David Wulf, Arianne Fraser, Delphine Perrier, Braxton Pope, Nicolas Cage
Scriptwriter: Michael Nilon
Main Cast: Nicholas Cage, Jaeden Martell, Maxwell Jenkins

Release Date: April 12th 2024 (UK)
Running Time: 92 minutes
Certificate: 15


God damn, is Nicolas Cage actually having a renaissance? Despite some truly so bad they’re good films, Arcadian feels like Cage’s most warmly received film since maybe Adaptation which was back in the 2000s. And a lot of that credit is because of his chemistry with Jaeden Martell and Maxwell Jenkins as the trio’s chemistry really helps to elevate Arcadian. However, as a self professed Nicolas Cage fan this was arguably too Cage lite which did hurt it at points but I’ll elaborate on that later. So without further ado, let’s get into the heart of the Nicholas Cage-issance: Arcadian.


Arcadian follows Paul (Cage) and his two sons, Joseph (Martell) and Thomas (Jenkins), as they attempt to survive an apocalyptic Earth in a remote farmhouse whilst being terrorised by ferocious hunters which kill everything in sight. However, when Paul suffers injuries and is unable to protect Joseph and Thomas, his sons must take on board all the skills he’s taught them in order to protect him and stay alive under constant threat of death. Can their desperate survival plan keep them alive or will the ferocious hunters be too much for the father and his two sons to handle?


The Chemistry between Cage, Martell and Jenkins in Arcadian

The biggest positive about Arcadian is how much chemistry Cage has with his two on screen sons, Martell and Jenkins. Whilst it may lack in other areas, the fact the film shows just how protective Paul is of his children allows the audience to near immediately sympathise with him as it’s an incredibly understandable motivation. Also, the scene where Paul gets hurt and both Thomas and Joseph immediately jump into action with a survival plan despite their dad’s protestations that he can handle himself still is weirdly heartwarming. In many respects, the chemistry between the trio is reminiscent of the chemistry seen in A Quiet Place as the sheer desperation and basic human need for survival brings all three characters closer together in the face of adversity.

The Lack of Nicolas Cage in Arcadian

However, whilst the on screen chemistry between Cage, Martell and Jenkins is admirable it does feel like Arcadian is lacking something. And that something is more Nicolas Cage. Now I appreciate that’s a bizarre sentence but hear me out. Whilst the film is great in showing how Paul’s sons take up the baton of planning their desperate survival, the film does stagnate at multiple points and you can’t help but wonder if more Nicolas Cage could have helped pep the film up.

Now am I advocating for older Nicolas Cage amounts of screentime? No but the mere fact the film often shies away from going for more Cage means it leaves an uneven narrative. Maybe this was just me but when I heard about a Nicolas Cage horror film where he has to survive against ferocious hunters, I thought this was gonna be full old school Cage. However, instead we get a very good film which feels too scared to release Nicolas from his Cage much to its own detriment.


To summarise Arcadian, this is a solid horror film with strong performances from its three leads: Nicolas Cage, Jaeden Martell and Maxwell Jenkins. However, despite some gorgeous cinematography, great chemistry and a solid story, the fact Arcadian doesn’t lean more into the idea of a Nicolas Cage horror film docks it quite a few points, no matter how much it continues the Nicolas Cage renaissance.

Overall Rating: 6/10 – Reasonable
Target Audience: 15+
Content Warning: Strong Violence and Gore, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes
Recommendation: Yes