‘Barbarian’ Review: A Tight & Shocking Horror Experience Great For Halloween Movie Night
WARNING: Barbarian contains subject matter relating to sexual violence and incest that could be triggering for some viewers.
Barbarian was directed by Zach Cregger and stars Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long and Matthew Patrick Davis. Campbell leads as a young woman who arrives in a Detroit AirBnb only to find a strange man (Skarsgård) staying there already.
This setup is rife with real-world paranoia already and you may think you know where this is all leading, but as the movie unfolds you won’t be able to predict some of the most shocking moments. If you don’t like squirm-in-your seat tension, this may not be your movie, as it hardly lets you have a moment to breathe as Campbell and Skarsgård explore this strange AirBnb more and more.
All of the cast hold their own incredibly well. Skarsgård disarms viewers walking a fine line as a friendly but ambiguous stranger to our protagonist Tess, who is played incredibly well by Campbell. She is grounded and consistent throughout, and does a great job of feeling heroic but not to the point of immersion-busting idiocy when faced with the film’s dangers.
One of the strongest elements of Barbarian is its directing. The sequences here milk every possible moment of tension for all its worth, and without spoiling too much there are some incredible visual moments that will bring you some intense claustrophobia and paranoia. The film’s variety of approaches to lighting and equally tense sequences in both daylight and nighttime also kept Barbarian feeling fresh and not stagnant or repetitive.
Unfortunately, once all of the film’s secrets are out in the open, there isn’t as much satisfaction at the end of that journey as there was approaching it. The situation is explained almost too conveniently in a throwaway dialogue line and the film’s climax, while an incredibly tense and well captured sequence, also came and went too suddenly.
While it doesn’t quite take the concept all the way home, Barbarian is still an absolute thrill ride that horror junkies will find a lot to love in. Anchored by solid performances and elevated by its simple but near-flawless cinematography, this film will certainly stand out as one of the horror highlights of the year.
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