Arbor Demon, a tale of how to spin numerous other movies into a failed web of bad writing, borrowed story points, and extremely shallow acting. By now, we should expect better than this.
Something special happened a couple years ago. Indie horror stepped up and slapped the mainstream in the face with a steady stream of great feature films that were artistically relevant and also offered up great character development. The genre took a giant leap forward as the smaller budgeted films like Starry Eyes and The Taking of Deborah Logan were pushed to the forefront of modern horror, creating some of the best concepts we'd seen in years, even if they were paying tribute to earlier masterpieces. Since then, something has changed. The independent horror films that should be continuing the advancement are actually depleting my patience with cliched tropes and stories that seem like they didn't even try to bend the rules or be original in the slightest.
Arbor Demon is another routine entry that the begs to be critically assaulted. Other than some cool looking creature design, this couple in the woods story is symptomatic of how bad independent horror has become. A troubled pair goes to the forest seeking solace and a way to repair their failing marriage. The husband is the creative, musical type. The wife is the burdensome opposite that wants her significant other to get with the real world. When they pitch a tent, all hell breaks loose as they fall victim to the demon of the forest and Jake Busey's penchant for bad acting. The two things that make this film watchable are the practical makeup and the few moments we get with the wood dwelling monster of the hour.
|I already told you. No means no! Don't touch me, tree hands.|
With some attention paid to the script writing, this could have been way better. Sadly, the whole movie falls apart under the direction of a creative staff that decided to play it safe instead of doing something new or original. If they spent ten minutes developing a better mythology about the Arbor Demon and had paid just a little bit of time building mood and chemistry between leads, this would have been way better. Sadly, this turned out to be another sad sack, no budget flick that actually had the gall to use the tag line, "Don't Breathe". Really, guys? You couldn't muster up one single ounce of creativity?
If you're a horror fan like myself, do yourself a favor and find something better than this. In this day and age, we should all expect better. The people that make these movies should know we're smarter than this.
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