Barbarian (2022)

Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long, Matthew Patrick Davis,
A woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems.
  • 7.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2022-10-26 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Zach Cregger, Director:
  • Roy Lee, J.D. Lifshitz, Raphael Margules, Arnon Milchan, Producer:

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8 / 10

"Barbarian" is one of the most thrilling theatre experiences I've had in 2022

"Barbarian" is nerve-racking - from the opening seconds, not minutes, but seconds of the film, director Zach Cregger immediately immerses viewers in an experience that leaves knuckles white, nails bitten, and minds consistently wondering what on God's green earth could possibly happen next.

Viewing "Barbarian" without any knowledge of what it is about is the optimal viewing experience; however, even if you've seen the trailer for this film, you'll be happy to know that it spoils basically zero of the twists and turns this movie has to offer. Thus, I do not want to spoil anything either, which makes this an incredibly hard review to write! So, what I will do is attempt to explain the basic premise of "Barbarian," and what makes it one of the most thrilling theatre experiences I've had in a long time.

Starring the beautiful Georgina Campbell as a lone Airbnb renter who is staying overnight at a house in Detroit, Michigan, "Barbarian" opens with Georgina's character, Tess, arriving at her rental to find that another man - played by Bill Skarsg?rd - is already occupying the home. Claiming that this incident is the result of a simple mixup of double booking, Bill's character Keith invites Tess in to stay the night, promising that, in the morning, they will both get this situation sorted out. From that point on, the movie becomes a razor sharp thriller that will infect audiences with its inherent uneasiness.

Is Keith truly a stranger caught up in an innocent mistake, or is he someone, or something, more nefarious? And is the rental property all it seems to be, or is there a greater mystery to be uncovered beneath its welcoming surface? "Barbarian" begins by introducing question after question to its audience, ensuring that viewers remain on the edge of their seat trying to predict what will next occur. Second after second and minute after minute, this movie is full of surprises, to the point where, after the 45 minute mark, my expectations were blown out of the water to the point where it felt useless trying to guess what would happen next, because I hadn't the slightest idea what could possibly happen next. And that is the highest compliment I can give this movie because, regardless of how you choose to describe this movie, you cannot claim it to be predictable. And on a side note, the fact that the characters actually made intelligent decisions and thought things out only made the viewing experience more tense, because, since everyone was already doing what I assumed a smart person would do, I had no idea how the scenes and sequences would progress. And I also want to pay my compliments to the soundtrack, the direction, and the cinematography, all of which combined perfectly to create a truly chilling experience.

I feel like this is a vague and poorly written review, but only because I do not want to spoil anything for anyone. You may have seen the teasers claiming that this film is so scary that people are screaming, vomiting, and passing out in the theatre - while that is just false marketing at its finest, I will say that "Barbarian" did induce a physical reaction from me at parts - I could feel my heart practically beating out of my chest during certain sequences due to the suspense. So, while I don't necessarily find this film to be scary, it is one of the most adrenaline pumping experiences I have had in a long, long time. If you are at all a fan of thrillers, I'd recommend seeing this on the biggest screen you can find, and preferably late at night. This isn't the most horrifying movie you'll ever see, but it is sure to get your blood pumping.

9 / 10

I never could've guessed...

Ok so Barbarian was bonkers.

Given the name, I was afraid it would be a kidnappy gore fest/Hostel style. But I was pleasantly surprised to find it was not even remotely what I thought it would be. It's not what anyone could imagine. I had read it's 90 mins of wtf, but I'd actually almost say it's a slow burn. In a nice way. Really fun to see in a theater, ESPECIALLY if you're from Detroit ?? (it def got some choice laughs in the theater I was in) Practical effects, great acting, super stylish directing, laughs, and weirdness. Would be awesome in a drive-thru, don't watch the trailer, go in blind. It's a riot. Thumbs up from me ????????

7 / 10

Truly scary. Like an average day in Detroit.

A lot of great things can and should be said about Barbarian. It's a masterfully directed film; Creggor always shows us just enough in each shot that we're left wondering about what's lurking in the empty space on the frame.

The first two-thirds of the film are tense when it's quiet and shocking when it's loud. It kept me on my toes for nearly the entire time, which is refreshing for my desensitised eyes.

Efficient work is made of the character introductions. Cregor's script doesn't waste time at the beginning of each character's story. We get to know exactly what we need to know about each of them as a person before they get thrust into the metaphorical depths of hell. It makes the eventual carnage all the more nerve-shredding because no character is disposable.

So, yes, the film is good. But it's not all good.

The film's narrative and pacing are not nearly as compelling and tight, respectively, as they should be due to the fact that it tells the stories of three separate sets of characters (one after the other) before getting to the finale.

Also, the film's last act really took a dive into campy and I found it to be a betrayal of the rest of the story's bleak tone.

The final set piece is so out-of-left-field and ridiculous that it became unintentionally hilarious for me.

This may seem like a minor complaint, but when the ending of the movie leaves a bad taste in my mouth, it kind of sours the whole experience.

I wanted this to be better than it was. But it's still so tense throughout its majority and the many twists are so satisfying that I do heartily recommend this subversive horror flick.

7 / 10

A fun ride.

I went in totally blind, with no expectations whatsoever as I only heard of this movie the day I decided to watch it. I think that's the best way to enjoy it.

This is campy horror film that has all the classic tropes from horror movies of a home invasion, with some fun twists and turns in it. This is definitely more of campy film though. Not quite as a campy as movies like Child's Play or Leprechan, but definitely not a true horror movie that will give you nightmares like the Ring or the Excorcist.

Bill Skarsg?rd really does a great job setting things up, and Georgina Campbell serves well as the classic "damsel in the distress." Justin Long is truly hilarious. This pokes fun at a lot of hororr movie tropes while still being scary enough to have audiences jumping out of their seats. It's a movie that's best seen with a lot of friends in a packed theater. But I don't think it will be a horror classic.

6 / 10

Such promise! But ultimately disappointing in the end.

UGH .... so close - SO CLOSE! But in the end, no cigar. All that potential and solid storytelling dissolving into to a nonsensical, clumsy, rushed, and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion, implementing all of the worst elements of horror movies. That's what disappoints the most. This movie held so much promise and had such a great start and journey all the way up until the end, but sadly the writer(s) somehow couldn't find the way to keep that strong storytelling up to par all the way through to the end. It wasn't that I disliked the end result. It was the clumsy way the screenplay got us there that left a lot to be desired. I was rolling my eyes on multiple occasions during parts of the final act. Video review to come soon.