Opinion TV & Movies

‘Barbarian’ review: A clever, unpredictable caper

The solo directorial debut of Zach Cregger is unique, chilling, consistent, and one of the best horror movies released in 2022.

2022 has seen many horror movies released such as Swallowed and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but fans such as myself have been disappointed by the offerings, finding them quite mundane and simply not scary enough.

But Barbarian breaks that trend.

With a budget of only 4 million, Barbarian is a clever, unique, and unpredictable film. Everything from the unique shifts between perspectives, distinctive mix of horror and comedy, and ideal background music changes made this movie perfect and unlike anything I’ve seen before in the horror genre. 

The story follows Tess, a young adult who booked an Airbnb in a rundown neighborhood in Detroit. Tess has high hopes for getting an interview for her dream job as a research position with a famous documentary filmmaker named Catherine James. However, she comes to find out that her Airbnb was mistakenly double booked by another person named Keith. 

After a huge argument and hours of debating, both tenants settled down over a bottle of wine and came to the conclusion that they would both stay at the Airbnb together, since the householder was not responding to their calls. 

The plot begins to build when Tess finds a hidden room in the basement. Keith goes to search the secret room but when he doesn’t return back, Tess follows. She walked trembling, with a flashlight in her hand and was terrified out of her mind. You could sense the fear in her eyes. She hears Keith screaming and sees a shadow-like creature.

What sets Barbarian apart is the art of different character perspectives used in the movie and its unpredictability. Throughout the movie, the tone shifts from suspenseful and frightening, to relaxed and settled. The movie would be peaking at an extremely scary scene and would leave that scene unfinished and begin a different character perspective not relating to that scene. This leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat in a number of cliffhangers. 

There was great acting in the movie. The cast, including Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long, are all talented actors that exceeded what you would expect from a low budget cast. Compared to the other actors, the star, Georgina Campbell, provides a lively performance, with palpable fear you can sense in her eyes, and in the distressing arguments she has with Keith. 

The background music changes throughout different scenes were perfect. The background music beat was ambient and piercing. 

The mix of comedy and horror throughout the movie was entertaining, intriguing, and fun. In a few scenes, the movie went from being spine chilling to comedic, making the whole audience burst out with laughter. In one scene, Tess starts searching the dark basement after hearing someone scream, “HELP ME”. She was terrified out of her mind with barely any light present knowing she could get lost or trapped at any moment. Then at the moment of greatest fright, the second Tess enters a room in the massive basement, a topless human-like creature jumps out of the shadow with a pacifier in her hand forcing it in Tess’s mouth. Audience started laughing and mostly said, “ew” and covered their eyes.

Barbarian’s shifting perspectives and distinctive comedy make it stand out among horror movies this year. Barbarian paves a much more creative approach for the horror genre.

Image Credit: BoulderLight pictures

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