The Arbors (2020) Review


Directed by Clayton Witmer

Released in 2020

Not all movies need to be two hours and a slow pace isn’t automatically artistic. It would do a lot of horror filmmakers good to remember that. There has been a barge of awfully slow paced, long, horror flicks coming out that just do not have the story to fill that time. That is not saying it can’t work, it can and has; The Arbors just isn’t one of those case. That’s also not saying that The Arbors is a bad film, it’s totally fine, but it is annoying seeing films made by first time feature filmmakers that could be great if they had someone watching over the work that knows when to edit.

The film is about a locksmith, Ethan, who is awkward—both socially and in general. He has a strained relationship with his brother Shane. Ethan seems to be obsessed about with his childhood, while Shane is not. Their relationship is cordial, at best. One day, Ethan finds a spider-like creature and takes it home. He puts it in a box. It manages to destroy the box. He puts it in a bigger box. It starts killing people.

The creature and Ethan have a kind of connection that is either unexplained or I missed when it was explained. There are some Lovecraftian aspects to the creature and how it is driving this normal isolated man insane by a mixture of guilt, gruesomeness, and banality.

As creature features go, The Arbors looks terrific. There is obvious talent behind the camera here. Technically speaking, the movie holds up. Unlike so many horror films, it is colour corrected and graded, the sound is top notch—it hits all the right boxes for me there. The three lead actors are good performs, but some problems arise when lesser talented supporting actors are on screen; the overall quality drops quite a bit.

Lurking inside that two-hour runtime there is a great 80-minute flick; however, in its current state it becomes dull at times and uninteresting. The mind wanders away from the screen while a lonely man reflects awkwardly on what to do with this murderous creature that he has connected with.

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