Review: Arcadia Bay, Sci-Fi Filmed on Oregon Coast Released Today
By Andre' Hagestedt
(Manzanita, Oregon) – An intriqguing indie Sci-Fi flick that was filmed on the Oregon coast is getting released today on Vimeo, a 30-minute short called Arcadia Bay. A bit like the 90's version of Outer Limits, it was written by Portlanders Josh Bailey and Phillip Abraham, and directed by Joshua Jacobs. See their Facebook page for full release information.
Those in-the-know will giggle with delight at all the north coast locations, and for some that will be the star of the little movie. In the end, however, this initial outing by a local film crew, even with its first-timer flaws, is striking and fascinating.
Part Sci Fi, part psychological thriller, Arcadia Bay centers around what appear to be visions experienced by the main character. Ian (Nevan Richard) is checking in and out of some kind of alternate reality. It begins with him standing on a dramatic ocean viewpoint, soon joined by his sister. You quickly see they have a tense relationship, made more so by an obsession with things he thinks he sees.
It promptly gets surreal and confusing, with his visions intermixed with life in this beautiful coastal town (which is really a composite of Astoria, Oceanside, Warrenton, Cannon Beach and more).
Ian soon confronts another character in his investigation to find the truth behind this reality, one that he feels he knows as a friend already. The man knows nothing about Ian and is wary, even frightened, of this guy who just showed up at his door and appears to have a loose grip on things. But Ian starts to make some bizarre discoveries of his own.
Eventually, as things become more clear, they start to pose as many questions as they answer, until the last ten minutes or so are a bit of a wild ride of captivating, even jolting twists. There's a character that becomes evil and has this creepy penchant for returning over and over, like a boss enemy in a video game. A set of tense standoffs where death happens again and again contain some real mind-bending facets that should elicit a “wow” or two.
There's a hint at a moral lesson here, too: a warning about technology that doesn't seem that distant now, and of how far we'll go to deal with the threats of terrorism.
An indie film to be sure, and a first time effort, it has plenty of faults. The pacing seems off, the acting isn't always top notch, and you feel like the story could've been pieced together a little more coherently. With so many little elements, often containing surprises or important information, I still wound up confused by exactly who these people turned out be and what they were up to.
Certainly, by the end, however, the storyline was the real star of the show. Those twists were pretty impressive.
For an initial endeavor from a group of new filmmakers, it was outstanding by those standards. It remained intelligent, coherent and engaging in spite of its issues and seriously indie feel – which is way more than a lot of big budget flicks can boast.
Arcadia Bay had some qualities of a few of my fave indie Sci-Fi / fantasy indie efforts, like Fetching Cody, Survival Not Guaranteed (which featured Aubrey Plaza), Cash Back or Monsters. I do feel as if Bailey and his crew could wind up with some achievements like those in the future. Perhaps Arcadia Bay is to Bailey's Ghost Forest Productions as 1971's THX 1138 was to George Lucas?
A couple of funky factoids:
Bailey wrote me just before filming in 2014 to tell me he'd found a lot of the hidden spot locations around Manzanita via our Oregon Coast Beach Connection, especially what I've always called the “forbidden” just below Neahkahnie Mountain (largely because you really aren't supposed to go there) and the strange tube-like structure of Treasure Cove. See the Manzanita Virtual Tour, Map.
More north Oregon coast below:
More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....
More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....
LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles
Back to Oregon Coast
Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net