Hi again, ghosts and ghouls!
Here in New York, it’s that time of year when all of the fun wintery activities are over, the holidays have come and gone, and we’re left with the pre-Valentine’s Day lull. This is the time when absolutely nothing fun happens between New Years and Valentine’s Day, and even then, I feel like these days more often than not, Valentine’s Day is a relatively hated day.
Luckily, there was a film to fulfill my sense of “I could really use some springtime right about now” and “Valentine’s Day is coming, I want to watch a sappy romance”. I found that in ARBOR DEMON.
Oh, wait, this is Nightmarish Conjurings, isn’t it? The site that reviews horror movies? YES, it is! I swear you’re not in the wrong place!
ARBOR DEMON is the story of a couple traveling into the woods for some much-needed R&R. Charles and Dana are the ideal couple: madly in love, attractive, the usual. But Dana’s got a secret she’s keeping from Charles that may just be their downfall. Deep in the woods while camping, a mysterious creature wipes out any sign of life around the couple (with the exception of a gross, obnoxious hunter) leaving them stuck in their tent which seems to be the only safe-haven.
This film is what I’d consider a slow-burn, which isn’t typically my type of horror film, but there’s something intriguing about this film that made me enjoy watching the build-up to the climax. The story itself is interesting – I find that it’s hard to surprise horror fans these days, but ARBOR DEMON uses the element of surprise and the fear of the unknown to make the viewer uncomfortable rather than relying on jump-scares and the scary imagery, so it’s a welcomed change.
As for the cast, I really, REALLY enjoyed Fiona Dourif as Dana. She’s genuine and fun to watch, super believable and seems like the kind of person I’d want to hang out with…that’s not weird, is it? It helps, though, that the supporting cast does a great job of making the film creepy and uncomfortable.
While it’s not the scariest film I’ve seen, I definitely do appreciate the differences ARBOR DEMONhas to so many other films out there, especially with its release so close to RINGS, which will, I’m sure, be predictable, repetitive, and all-around unnecessary. With that being said, if you’re in the market for a fun horror film that’s not like anything you’ve ever seen, and you enjoy films like THE VVITCH (slow-burn) and BURIED (you remember BURIED! From 2010! With Ryan Reynolds!) because of that similar feeling of being shut-in somewhere, this will be a great film for you.
It took me a while to sit down and write this review because at the end, I couldn’t tell if I enjoyed the film or not, but I’m slowly realizing that film reviews aren’t always about what you like, but rather what makes a film different and more enjoyable than others. So with that being said, while this isn’t exactly my type of horror film, I absolutely loved and appreciated its ability to be outside of the box in a genre that has become, like the characters in this film, stuck in a tent. I absolutely recommend it if you’re looking for something totally strange, out there, a little creepy, and relatively disturbing. I also recommend it as a romantic film to watch this Valentine’s Day! (That’s a joke. Or is it…)
Until next time, ghosts and ghouls!
ARBOR DEMON will be released in select cities and VOD February 3