Well, I guess I now know what all the fuss is about. Barbarian is truly a great horror movie featuring an intense atmosphere and well-developed characters. Granted, it offers nothing new and I could list several other horror movies with similar plots. But I fucking loved it! And you know me, give me a single location, great writing, and a bit of humor and I’m fucking in! Also, on top of all of this, I just loved the flow of the movie. Barbarian will toy with your emotions, with your sense of fear and claustrophobia. It will ramp up the tension to incredible levels and then offer some release through humor.
The first thing you’re going to notice is the realistic and natural dialogue. Dialogue that will slowly introduce you to our main characters. Next up we have the setting that couldn’t have been better. The outskirts of Detroit look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland you would encounter while playing the Fallout franchise. Desolate and depressing, I think that only Kensington Avenue in Philly can rival it. But that’s a different kind of beast altogether. There you go Zach Cregger, director and writer of this movie, there’s your next challenge. He first started working on the script for Barbarian as a writing exercise, not knowing that it will become what it is today.
And in case this name sounds a bit familiar, it’s because we already talked about his previous movie, Miss March. He stars in this teen sex comedy alongside Trevor Moore, so I recommend you check it out. While we’re on this subject if you get a sense that Barbarian feels like a Jordan Peele movie it’s because he was involved in a certain capacity. This also means that if you’re looking for similar movies, you can check out Get Out and Us. I didn’t like his latest movie Nope although I’m yet to watch it for the second time to see if I missed anything in the first run. I would also recommend the Spanish masterpiece Rec as it features almost the same villain.
Night has covered the decrepit Detroit neighborhood of Brightmoor. A solitary car is slowly making its way down the deserted streets toward its final destination. In it is a young woman, Tess, looking for her Airbnb accommodation for the night. She’s got a big interview tomorrow and this is the only place she could find. After finding the house, she looks for the keys but can’t find them in the designated locker. It would appear that her evening is turning into a nightmare. However, the real nightmare hasn’t even begun.
Georgina Campbell was freaking excellent in this movie along with creepy Bill Skarsgård and charismatic Justin Long. This is not the first time poor Justin finds himself in a tricky situation as we all remember his adventures in Tusk. The cast did a terrific job of playing their roles in such a way that you weren’t sure what was going to happen next. Each of the characters felt real and their actions were logical to some extent. Of course, there were obligatory moments of “let’s do this completely idiotic thing when we clearly shouldn’t” but what’re you going to do, it’s a horror movie.
On that note, as the story progressed, it started looking more and more like an eighties slasher. And towards the end, it decided to do away with that carefully created sense of reality in favor of a jubilant bloodbath. A decision I wholeheartedly approve of. I felt like I was watching some twisted version of the Halloween franchise. Moreover, I felt like I was watching one of the great horror movies that will go on to scare generations of kids.
Finally, I do have to address some of the hate this movie is getting right now. It would seem like people were expecting it to go in a certain direction and when they didn’t get what they wanted, they felt disappointed. We also have the curse of the incredibly strong opening act that makes anything that follows hard to compete. All of these elements combined can push people to have an emotional reaction. However, as it is the case with all emotional reactions, they are temporary and I’m sure people are going to come around on this one.
Director: Zach Cregger
Writer: Zach Cregger
Cast: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long, Richard Brake, Matthew Patrick Davis
Fun Facts: The budget for the movie was only $4.5 million.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15791034/