Artik – USA, 2019 – reviews

‘Release the purity within’

Artik is a 2019 American horror feature film written and directed by Tom Botchii Skowronski. The movie stars Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End), Lauren Ashely Carter (Imitation Girl), Matt Mercer (Contracted), Gavin White (14 Cameras) and Jerry G. Angelo (7 Faces of Jack the Ripper).

Review:

Artik (Jerry G. Angelo) is a big, burly, mountain man (in appearance) who lives on a rural landscape farm in the outskirts of a mid-western town. Along with his semi-doting wife Flin (Lauren Ashely Carter), they raise their boys to mechanically harvest each day after being fed slop for breakfast and plough the fields without a sound.

Artik’s son, Boy Adam, is quiet and clearly displaced. He has… seen things. Evil, brutal and nasty things which were motivated by his comic-obsessed father who is devoted to passing along his serial killer ways in hopes of purifying the search for a real hero.

The filth and doom follow Boy Adam around as he mutely absorbs the treacherous murders of vagrants, neighbours and everyday nobodies. Forced to learn how to hunt, trap and kill sends Boy Adam into the realm of straight-edge Holton (Chase Williamson), a tattooed young man trying to make an honest manual labour living and clear his thoughts of pollution from those he has encountered with substance abuse.

Holton is immediately drawn to the boy with a definitive protective shield, once the home life violence is identified through some unnerving drawings. On a mission to save this young man from his predatory destiny mapped out by Artik, Holton puts his own life on the line in order to save innocence from the most dangerous harm instilled around him.

In a similar grim vein to Sick Girl and Snowtown Murders, the destitution onscreen is palpable as these characters go about normal days on the farm without recourse. Via their considerable talent, Angelo, Williamson and Mercer (Holton’s group therapist) show incredible diversity and range within themselves that will glue you to the screen, waiting to see who is expendable and who in fact is heroic.

Meredith Brown, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

…Artik offers good acting, a good story with plenty of turns, and it is solidly put together too. There is a little shaky-cam during the action scenes, though it aids them rather distracting from them. The pacing is smooth too, building up to its climax, which is well worth the journey.” Dave Heath, Cryptic Rock

“Hazarding a genuinely wild guess, first-time feature filmmaker Tom Botchii appears to use his script to work through possibly personal topics as a cathartic form of therapy. What Botchii doesn’t afford as much attention to is how to mold the demons he wishes to exorcise into fiction focused on entertainment.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

Artik is a suspenseful, scary, and intense horror thriller anchored by terrific lead performances and a relentless pace.” Sean Patrick, Horror Media

“Overall, Artik is a fascinating, bleak story with strong themes and interesting characters, but comes just short of fully developing those elements. These are great characters, but the film’s too-quick pace doesn’t allow us to get to know them well. We never fully understand Artik’s motives or why Flin goes along with it…” Killer Horror Critic

“The practical effects are wickedly good, and the killings are gory on a savage level. It’s a film with a relentless pursuit of its own truth. And while it may fall just short of that lofty ambition, Artik is well worth checking out as a frightening and dark mystery.” Jason McFiggins, Morbidly Beautiful

“As a tone poem for escapism at its brutal worst, it’s easy to dislike a serial killer like Artik. Every person cast in this film does a fine job of portraying what happens within its walls. Artik’s score will make you feel as if you’re trapped under the earth. It’s only when you notice the farm is growing sunflowers that sometimes the prettiest things hide the ugliest truths.” Vanessa Stewart, Mother of Movies

Artik isn’t an easy film to sit through, as it’s very primal in its shocks and violence, shows a certain mean spirit and doesn’t try to over-analyze and that way sanitize things – which is exactly why the film ought to play very well with horror audiences.” Mike Haberfelner, Search My Trash

Background:

Writer-director Botchii has commented: “It sounds funny but making Artik, a film about a murderer, was actually, kind of healing. Truth is, the character himself is loosely based on my dad and the character of Holton was based around an ex-girlfriend.

So from the moment that I started writing, it felt like the story was just pouring out of me and releasing a lot of pent up emotion. And that was the original goal, do something that gets this off my chest, but also works as a small, independent horror production. Then, small began to morph into real which then changed into holy crap – it’s happening! And now, it feels like it’s truly starting to take on a life of its own.”

Release:

Artik premiered at the Popcorn Frights Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on August 11, 2019. Artik is released on VOD by Epic Pictures’ DREAD on September 10th.

Cast and characters:

  • Chase Williamson … Holton Shudcase
  • Jerry G. Angelo … Artik
  • Lauren Ashley Carter … Flin Brays
  • Matt Mercer … Kar
  • David Robbins … Travis Mers
  • Gavin White … Boy Adam
  • Kari White … Counselor Ward
  • Cyrus Dodson-Sands … Boy Captive
  • Nathan Lee Livingston … Boy Captive
  • William Ward … Boy Sam

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