Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Artik is written and directed by Tom Botchii Skowronski.
Just like the character of Artik, the movie unexpectedly grabs you, hits you over the head and bundles you into the back of a truck. There’s no escape now, you’re along for the ride.
Artik (Jerry G. Angelo – American Warfighter) is just your ordinary family man. He has a wife and an array of children who help run the family farm and he enjoys reading the comic books that he keeps bagged as any good comic collecting fan would. This may sound idyllic, but what about if I told you that I lied about the “ordinary” part and that in his garden there is a small crop of cranial headfruit sprouting from the earth, or that the children are more like prisoners and that “slaves” would be an accurate label for them. Oh, and one other thing.
He’s also a serial killer.
One of Artik’s children who is simply know as Boy-Adam (Gavin White – 14 cameras), obviously hasn’t had the greatest of upbringings as not only does he have to listen to Artik’s teachings, there’s also his mother (Lauren Ashley Carter – Jug Face) to deal with, although she just wants the harvest done on time and for the house to be kept clean. That and for Artik to deal with the trash that he keeps bringing home, which is how she describes his victims.
During one of Boy’s night-time jaunts into town, he befriends a man named Holton (Chase Williamson – John Dies at the End). Holton suspects that all is not right with Boy, and as Holton has had a troubled upbringing, he sees something of himself in Boy and seeks to help him out. As Holton attends a group therapy class run by a counsellor named Kar (Matt Mercer – Contracted) he shares his suspicions regarding Boy’s upbringing to Kar. Being the concerned individual that he is, Kar travels to the farm to speak to Boy’s parents, which has un”fork”tunate consequences.
Things rapidly escalate from then on.
Artik is a fairly solid little movie that achieves everything that it set out to. The characters are well written and well-acted, with Jerry Angelo’s portrayal of Artik being especially noteworthy. He doesn’t overact and is a steady menace with an underlying tone of barely controlled rage. This anger bubbles to the surface until there’s nowhere for it to go except to explode outward in fits of violence. There’s a great scene where Artik’s talking about comics and as he paces around vocalising about the volume he holds in his hand, it’s as if he’s channelling the spirit of an old-fashioned evangelical preacher, only one with a comic in place of a bible. My only real complaint is that we only really get a small glimpse of that and I was hoping for a longer scene where he preached his crazed sermon using the medium of comics, because I think it would have helped accentuate Artik’s crazed mission to find someone pure. Someone heroic.
Because that’s what he wants to do, find someone pure.
Something else of note in the movie is the soundtrack. It added a great creepy ambient tone that helped enhance the proceedings without ever feeling out of place. I tend to listen to soundtracks and ambient scores when I’m writing, and the score for this movie would be something that I could quite happily play in the background whilst jabbing away at my keyboard.
We’ve all seen movies about serial killers in one form or another and Artik manages to somehow tread familiar ground whilst also feeling different. At under 90 minutes, it doesn’t feel bloated or unnecessary and it ramps up nicely to a suitably bloody finish.
Recommended viewing and a great movie from a director making the transition from short films, to a full feature.