What is it with comedians and their seamless shift to horror? After the success of Jordan Peele, comes another director with comedy roots and little to no association with the genre strolling casually into the playing field to hit THE HOME RUN of the year… It’s Zach Cregger’s Barbarian, widely lauded as the twistiest, most fear inducing film of the year.
When Tess (Georgina Campbell) arrives in a dodgy Detroit neighbourhood to find a guy already staying in her pre-booked Airbnb, she has no choice but to stay the night with him. The area is obviously dangerous, and she has an important job interview in the morning. Tess is understandably wary of the seemingly affable but slightly alarming Keith (Bill Skarsgård), but they soon bond over wine and jazz music. There’s just one catch: this house, and the people in it, share a horrific secret…
My first piece of advice = GO IN BLIND, avoid spoilers at all costs, this is a film that demands to be seen with very little contextual knowledge, trust me, the payoff is huge. Second piece of advice = be prepared for what you’re about to go through, it is STRESSFUL and HORRIFIC and hilarious??? Did you read that right? Yes, yes you did. This film plays with genre like it’s a piece of playdough to be modelled into one thing, then squished and reshaped into an entirely different entity. There is a shift that happens at around the 40-minute mark that will blow your damn minds. Cregger certainly knows how to subvert expectations, and how to effortlessly slot comedy into the most horrific and unrelenting of circumstances.
Along with Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long also plays a role in the movie and for reasons that will become clear they are both examples of absolutely genius casting. It’s difficult to detail exactly how and why without spoiling some of the more major twists which I absolutely am not going to do! Georgina Campbell leads the cast with a brave performance that will have you rooting for her whilst simultaneously screaming DO NOT GO BACK INTO THAT DAMN HOUSE!
Upon my initial viewing, I found myself vowing to never set eyes on this movie again, however I can already feel myself creeping steadily back towards it. This is a movie that thrives in its stark refusal to be anything but absolutely insane, it will settle explosively into cult status alongside its horror brothers and sisters as one of the weirdest titles of the current horror boom. Barbarian is innovative mould-mangling filmmaking at its best, Cregger has immediately surged up to join the major players in the horror game, ensuring that his next title will be heavily anticipated and hopefully heartily funded…
Show this movie to your friends, show this movie to your enemies, but don’t show this movie to those with a weak stomach or mommy issues *shudders.*
Have you been brave enough to see Barbarian this spooky season? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!