‘Arcadian’ Delivers Scares Atop Conservative Values

Nicolas Cage's first-rate thriller shows power of male role models

“A Quiet Place” introduced a wrinkle to the dystopian genre.

The world as we know it ends courtesy of creatures who hunt the surviving humans. The “Bird Box” franchise spun from this premise, as did subsequent “Quiet Place” projects.

On paper, “Arcadian” is another riff on that formula. Add Nicolas Cage, and visions of “Mandy” and “Willy’s Wonderland” flash through our heads. 

Nothing doing.

“Arcadian” offers a soulful blend of family drama and monster mayhem. It’s smart and patient, and fathers will relish an undercurrent of paternal love. Take that, Toxic Masculinity! 

ARCADIAN Official Trailer (2024) Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage plays Paul, the father of two teens surviving in a post-apocalyptic America. The prologue teases a smoldering skyline, but the action picks up roughly 15 years later.

Paul and sons Joseph and Thomas (Jaeden Martell, Maxwell Jenkins) live on an abandoned parcel, using societal scraps to make their lives easier. Their days are filled with mundane chores and sibling squabbles.

At night, they board their home up to keep the creatures who stormed the earth at bay. We don’t know much more than that, but director Benjamin Brewer is content to look forward, not back.

Paul’s family gets a jolt when Thomas goes missing. Now, Paul must recover his lost son before the creatures do.


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“Arcadian” is in no rush to reveal the creatures in play. We spend quality time with Paul’s clan, watching them motor across the land in a makeshift car, scouring for scraps. Papa Paul imparts his life skills to the lads, who listen in ways modern teens don’t.

Father knows best when monsters stalk the land.

Other humans live nearby, including a teen girl (Sadie Soverall) with an eye for Thomas. It’s still every man for himself in this bleak new world.

Once the beasts make their presence known, “Arcadian” kicks into high gear. The creature effects are top notch, and the monsters boast an attack mode unlike anything we’ve seen before.

It’s terrifying.

Nicolas Cage Gives Most "Nick Cage" Answer Ever at ARCADIAN World Premiere

Cage doesn’t so much as nibble on the scenery, a blessing given the somber tone in play. The role may not enhance his combustible brand, but it reminds us how strong he can be without going The Full Cage.

Brewer’s camera, so invested in the day-to-day lives of Paul’s family, deftly adjusts to the new threat. It helps that the creatures are smart enough to adapt to the environment, a quality that spikes the tension.

“Arcadian” has more in common with “A Quiet Place” than you might think. That film featured a pro-life message combined with a salute to parenthood. The main characters sacrificed everything to keep their children safe, summoning a strength they didn’t know was possible.

Here, Paul relentlessly teaches his children to care for themselves. It’s Rugged Individualism 101, and you can see the youngsters mature as the movie progresses.

Masculinity matters in this dystopian landscape, and “Arcadian” isn’t shy about it.

That message doesn’t interrupt the story’s flow. It’s embedded in both the action sequences and the pivotal third act.

Like most genre films, a few moments in “Arcadian” don’t add up. Consider a poorly realized scene where one of the teens tries to capture a creature.

We pine to know more about the creature threat and how they conquered humanity. Leave that to the sequel.

As is, “Arcadian” is a satisfying thriller with something to say about the human experience. 

HiT or Miss: “Arcadian” is one of 2024’s best surprises, a smart genre romp bolstered by Red State values.


  1. People who use terms like “TOXIC MASCULINITY” even in deriding the term and “Red States” shouldn’t review movies. No different than the leftists counting the number of transgenders or blacks in order to give a film a good review.

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