Director Patrick Rea’s horror thriller “Arbor Demon” (Originally titled “Enclosure”) is a quite compelling and eerie tale of supernatural interference during what can usually be a tumultuous time. As per the usual with Patrick Rea, “Arbor Demon” is a much more human approach to the typical survival horror movie. His movie is set primarily within the closed in quarters of a tent in the deep woods. But he’s able to derive a lot of terror from the surroundings, and derives some great performances from his cast. In particular there’s Fiona Dourif who impresses once again in a role she dives in to and commands with a lot of pathos and charisma.
Dourif plays Dana, a nature lover and photographer who have decided to go away for the weekend with her husband Charles. Though he’s celebrating their freedom as a young married couple with all kinds of prospects as a musician, Dana has a secret she’s harboring and is looking for a way to tell him. As they camp out over night in the woods, their peace is interrupted by a group of hunters that are slaughtered by a mysterious presence in the middle of the night. When one of the surviving hunters flees to their tent seeking help, they realize something is in the woods with its own sinister motives. If you’re entering in to “Arbor Demon” expecting a cheesy stalk and slash monster movie, director Patrick Rea surpasses any pre-conceived notions with a character rich horror drama packed with some really good performances.
Dourif is especially the stand out as Dana who is at a crossroads when we meet her, and finds herself slowly forced in to an extraordinary situation beyond her control. “Arbor Demon” is always at risk of hitting the pitfall of a typical monster movie, but director Patrick Rea always seeks to bring more to the table. Every frame feels meticulously crafted, with the woods feeling not only claustrophobic but sentient and capable of springing to motion any second. The cast, however limited, are collectively fantastic and manage to inject a lot of dramatic momentum in to the film. “Arbor Demon’s” appeal is based mainly on its simplicity and how much unfolds within the small gathering of trees and grass around these characters. Patrick Rea continues evolving in to a director whose tales become much more human and eerie, but are just as clever and surprising as his earlier work. It’s a definitely engaging horror indie worth experiencing.
Now Available on VOD and Digital.