Comic book addicted mountain-man lookin’ mother fucker Artik (Jerry G. Angelo) spends his days hunting the bleak town in which he lives and it’s outskirts for fresh victims for his serial killer proclivities helped by his “son” Boy Adam (Gavin White)…a viscous feral lad, though one with an introspective side. Also on hand is Artik’s woman Flin Brays (indie horror darling Lauren Ashley Carter) and a cadre of farmhand children that live in their barn.
Soon Boy befriends a troubled young man named Holton Shudcase (Chase Williamson) who learns that things are fucked up six ways to Sunday in that lil’ dude’s life, and when he tries to intervene it’s nearly certain that death will come a callin’ …you know, because Artik is a complete deranged lunatic with a hair-fucking-trigger for the ol’ murder biz and all!
Artik on the surface seems like something the horror biz has brought us a bazillionty times…psycho hillbilly family lives on a farm where they go on a manic kill spree…like I’m sure at least one of you cats n’ creeps (sarcasm sense…tingling) has slapped your eerie eyeballs on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for but one example…and honestly it is, but Writer/Director Tom Botchii Skowronski manages to bring an artistic flare and solid character building to the grizzly goings-on.
Starting with the latter; the character Artik himself is a bit different than your run-of-the-mill lumbering slasher flick brute; he’s an artist and often delivers near super-villain style monologues…all with a soft spoken monotone (until his tone and temper changes). It’s a study in contrasts and adds a real depth to the character portrayed to perfection by Angelo. The supporting cast are excellent as well and most offer the same layered performances…this is a real acting showcase buried behind stalk n’ slay shenanigans…but don’t think this isn’t a spookshow at it’s core…but we’ll get back to that in a tick…
On the artsy-fartsy side of the equation, we have some great palette choices with muted tones of complimentary cool and warm colors offering a painterly approach that pushes this piece closer to the arthaus than the grindhaus, as does the use of the joyous sunflowers that sprout among the blood drenched fields of the farm showing there may be hope for those embroiled in chaos (college art degree baby…ol’ XIII lays some culture upon your arse).
As I mentioned above, have no fear as this is proudly a horror picture at it’s core, and it definitely contains scenes of wince inducing violence of the torture porn variety. The practical gore effects are gorgeous, and are works of art as much as the rest of the putrid pic!
Bottom line; if you dig on the “deranged family that slays together stays together” trope, and also groove to a more serious approach to the material, I’d wager you will adore what Artik is laying down…it’s the type of flick that’ll resonate in your mind while it buries a box cutter in your spine!