I call shotgun! ARTIK, the name of the film and main protagonist is a bloody adventure about a serial killer obsessed with comic books written and directed by Tom Botchii. Tom Botchii, leading this directorial debut in a feature-length film, is also known for his shorts 11 Minutes, and Goldblooded. ARTIK won Best Feature Film at 2019’s Dragon Con Film Festival. It also won Jury Prize, Festival Award and Best in Category in other film festivals.
This film is a pure Good vs Evil that seemed to struggle with finding its own footing. I feel as though there could be much to enjoy about it, but by the time the credits roll, I was left feeling very unsatisfied. The last twenty minutes of ARTIK are its shining star, and it finally commits to itself.
There’s a fleeting sense of “Oh, where is that going to go?” The answer only ends up being ‘nowhere.’ We find two characters, Artik (Jerry G. Angelo) and Holton (Chase Williamson) on opposite ends of the spectrum. Artik seemingly kills at random, keeping his children locked up, having one “ace” for a son, named “Boy Adam” (Gavin White.) His wife (Lauren Ashley Carter) appears to have Cinderella Syndrome, while at the same time, sometimes calling the shots? It was all very sporadic, and nothing about the film seemed to really fall into place. Holton visited weekly ANON meetings for an addiction that he didn’t have, and found Boy Adam, and the two grew to know each other over a very short span of time.
Holton wants to figure out what’s going on at Artik’s farm, thinking Boy Adam is being abused, neglected, or otherwise disposed. Everything soon comes to a head, forcing Artik and Holton to meet face to face.
This is the part where the film really commits to itself. Some minor explanation spared for the sake of leaving out spoilers, a pretty intense scene takes place, and a shotgun comes-a-blasting. Up until this point, the acting in the film was pretty watered down, but the adrenaline-fueled scene really kicks it into high gear for all parties involved.
Let’s go ahead and talk about that shotgun for a moment. Now, I’ve seen some pretty unrealistic and unbelievable moments, but few have jarred me the way this shotgun did. Never once do you see or hear it being reloaded, but it sure fires a lot of shells. How many? Watch the film and keep a count.
All in all, there were a few moments that really made me wonder if this film was going to pick itself up, but it leaned toward dropping itself and having to pick up its own pieces instead. Some blood, some gore, and a bit of suspense make this enjoyable enough for what it is, but not a ride I’d like to sit passenger of again.