Jerry G. Angelo, Chase Williamson, Lauren Ashley Carter, Matt Mercer, Gavin White
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At times feeling like a punk rock Motel Hell, other times an intense character study, it’s the work of a fresh genre voice with a bright (but also dark) future.
Hardcore comic book fans can be a gruesome lot at times. Overly obsessed with lore, frequently exhibiting gatekeeping tendencies and their personal hygiene – not always ideal. Still and all, they’re usually less terrifying than the main antagonist of Artik, the bracing horror flick from first time director Tom Botchii.
Our tale begins from the point of view of Artik (Jerry G. Angelo), a gruff mountain of a man who wants to raise his son, Boy Adam (Gavin White), in the proper way. Unfortunately, in the case of Artik, that means teaching the lad how to get away with murder, proper body disposal and some sketching to round out the skillset. Artik does this with the blessing of mother figure, Flin Brays (Lauren Ashley Carter), who appears to be all in with the bizarre plan, not to mention storing a barn full of feral kids used to keep the sunflower farm running smoothly. If all of that sounds bizarre to you, then congratulations on paying attention, because Artik is a strange trip.
Artik is an intense flick, with even the more mundane moments infused with menace, and Tom Botchii is clearly a director to watch. A solid, occasionally confounding, performance from Jerry G. Angelo anchors the film, with solid back up from Lauren Ashley Carter and Chase Williams provides an amiable, if unlikely, hero in the form of troubled straightedge mechanic Holton. At a slender 78 minutes, Artik certainly doesn’t outstay its welcome, in fact you’ll probably find yourself wishing for an extra five minutes or so of explanation for Artik’s bizarre plans, although perhaps the madness is rather the point.
Ultimately, Artik is a wild ride. At times feeling like a punk rock Motel Hell, other times an intense character study, it’s the work of a fresh genre voice with a bright (but also dark) future; and a cracking little film in its own right.