I’ll be honest, when I first heard about Patrick Rea’s ‘Arbor Demon‘ I didn’t expect very much. I wondered how entertaining a film could be that takes place almost entirely in a tent.
I finally got to watch ‘Arbor Demon’ and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s filled with tension, drama, and horror, everything a horror film should have. Not only was it an interesting movie, it has a unique plot which goes a long way in my book. I even jumped a few times and that’s pretty rare.
‘Arbor demon’ stars Fiona Dourif as Dana, a women hiding her pregnancy from her husband (Kevin Ryan) because he has made it perfectly clear that he has no desire to have kids. The couple heads off on a camping trip to spend their last days together before he leaves for a six month tour with his band unaware of the horrors they will soon face.
After arriving at the remote area, we see what they think is a bear kill several locals camping near by. Charles, who is a former EMT, pulls one of the strangers (Jake Busey) to the safety of the tent where he can tend to the man’s wounds. It isn’t long before the couple realize that the attack was not by a bear, but something older and darker, a demon. When the man comes to he tells the couple that he and the group of hunters were there to seek revenge on the creature that killed his friends in the woods weeks ago. After another attack that kills the only other remaining hunter, he tells the legend of what haunts the forest, a native american woman sacrificed to bring rain and a good harvest. He also reveals that many people who enter the woods never return and that the demon has a thing for pregnant women. The problem is, it’s not just one demon but several.
Busey’s character, Sean, realizes that Dana is what is keeping them safe and tries to use her as a shield so he can escape, but that doesn’t work out well for him. Dana comes face to face with the demon, a grotesque creature covered in moss and plants. As Dana’s belly quickly swells, she begins to change, taking the form of one of the demons as does the child she delivers.
The cast did an amazing job, as did the special effects crew. The Arbor demons are something we haven’t before. It was a fantastic idea to add hints of nature to their design. The witches’ screams are terrifying. While they are scary, you can’t help but feel sorry them due to their origin story.
In my opinion, Dana is one of Fiona Dourif’s best roles to date. She captures the sadness and conflict of the situation and your heart goes out her. At the same time while seeming a bit broken, you still get a sense of her strength.
Ryan played his part as a self-absorbed husband perfectly. And Jake Busey delivers the perfect combination of creepy and determination to survive. While he too has a heartbreaking story, you can’t help but root for him to die.
My verdict, ‘Arbor Demon’ should definitely be on your watch list. Luckily it is already out in select theaters on VOD. ‘Arbor Demon’ is filled with twists and tension that will keep you on your toes through out the film. It has everything a great genre film should have, action, suspense, blood, and a great story.