11th Oct2019

Grimmfest 2019: ‘Artik’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Chase Williamson, Lauren Ashley Carter, Jerry G. Angelo, Matt Mercer, Gavin White, David Robbins, William Ward, Kari White, Keefe Stone, Chris Tapia | Written and Directed by Tom Botchii

artik-poster

The titular Artik (Jerry G. Angelo) is a comic book obsessed serial killer who spends his days sketching and his nights teaching his son Adam how to get away with murder, literally, until the boy befriends a mysterious man, Holton (Chase Williamson), who threatens to expose their horrifying family secret.

I’m not going to lie. There’s no way these days that I can give ANY film starring Chase Williamson an unbiased review… The actor has been a solid performer for years, appearing in a myriad of genre films, including two of my favourite modern horrors: Sequence Break and John Dies at the End. As such I find myself enjoying films on his performance alone – and Artik is no different. Though to be fair, Tom Botchii’s film doesn’t just rest on the performance of Williamson. He has in fact married with a well-rounded cast, each of which bring something interesting to the table; to an overall story that, whilst familiar, is a fantastic slice of Southern Gothic-meets-backwoods slasher.

A small-scale film, Artik is – at its core – a story about family. Be they blood-related or not. Here we have a father whose only goal, it seems, is to have his son follow in his footsteps. That his “footsteps” include the capture and killing of a myriad of miscreants is of little consequence to Aritk, in fact he has his son kill for him at times, making him both trainee AND accomplice. Interestingly, the killing sprees of Artik are put firmly at the feet of comic books. The titular killer seemingly to have developed a strange righteous hero streak from reading comics and taking their heroic stories completely the wrong way… which makes this somewhat of a superhero story. Well, more like super-villain story.

Into this twisted family, where mother (Lauren Ashley Carter) condones this psychotic behaviour from both her “boys”, steps Chase Williamson’s Holton. A man who has had his own fair share of problems but who is seeking help and helping others too. When he comes across the obviously disturbed Adam he can do nothing but try and help – at first by offering him something to eat and an friend to talk too but eventually much more… stepping right into the belly of the beast and coming face to face with Artik – where he must not only fight for the young boy’s life, but for his own.

***½  3.5/5

Artik screened at Grimmfest 2019 on Saturday October 5th.

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