Nicolas Cage Gets A Quiet Place To Call His Own With The Horror Movie Arcadian [SXSW 2024]

Broadly speaking, ‘Arcadian” was unquestionably sold as “‘A Quiet Place’ but the monsters come at night instead of when people are loud.” That may have gotten Brewer and Nilon a green light, but they did something unique with “Arcadian” while playing in a sandbox adjacent to the movie it will certainly be compared to. The movie wisely leans on the strength of its two lead performances from Jaeden Martell (“It”) and Maxwell Jenkins (“Lost in Space”), with Cage there to offer up his welcome support.

As for the Cage of it all, the actor had a pretty tough road to wander down there for about a decade when he was stuck making direct-to-video schlock. To that end, Brewer directed “The Trust,” which was one of the better Cage movies of that era. But the Cage Renaissance has been buoyed by movies like “Mandy” and “Renfield,” with the actor going for it in a variety of ways. Even so, it’s easy to forget that some of his best work often comes from quieter performances. Director Michael Sarnoski’s much-acclaimed “Pig” is perhaps the best example. Coincidentally, Sarnoski directed this year’s “A Quiet Place: Day One.”

Luckily, Brewer recognized that as a strength that Cage possesses and it’s on full display here. It’s Cage in dad mode. It’s Cage at his most human. It’s Cage so far removed from the zany Cage that we all know and love so much that the larger-than-life figure almost disappears completely into something impressively somber yet full of emotion. Cage is here to elevate the material.

I can’t rightfully say this movie is quite as good as the film it’s paying homage to. That said, it’s an example of a damn fine actor coming in and elevating everything around him. It’s a fun, interesting movie made better because of Nic Cage’s commitment to making it better. That alone is worth the price of admission.

“Arcadian” hits theaters on April 12, 2024.

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