Looking for a new horror movie must-watch that isn’t a sequel or a remake?
“Barbarian,” directed by Zach Cregger, follows Tess (Georgina Campbell) as she discovers a sinister secret held in the basement of her double-booked Airbnb. Following Tess’ descent into the darkness, we are met with beautifully executed jump-scares and plot twists, along with amazing acting performances that leave you wondering where the real horror lies.
As our main protagonist, Tess is the perfect character for a film like “Barbarian.” She leads with emotion as well as her brain and is an extremely relatable character for women in 2022. Being plunged into a situation where she is forced to stay the night with a stranger gives the audience sympathy and anxiety with an understanding of her decision and a fear of it.
We also meet Keith (Bill Skarsgard) who seems to do his best given the situation. He is aware of Tess’ understandable discomfort and tries his best to ease the tension when these strangers are forced to spend the night together. But you cannot tell if he can be trusted as his character displays some awkward traits. Thus, fear is created in the relationship between these two characters.
“Barbarian” plays with your feeling of trust throughout the film and will continue to have you guessing who is “good” until the end. The intentions of men were questioned until the very last second.
With a large portion of this film being in the barely-lit, secret basement of the Airbnb, you are truly “left in the dark.” Horror can be described as the fear of the unknown, and that is exactly what I felt.
Considering there is little explanation in the trailer and that “Barbarian” holds tons of twists and turns, you are on the edge of your seat the entire time. The audience knew as much, and as little, as the characters did. With every move being a twist, we felt the fear alongside Tess the whole time. Up until the very end of this film, my breath stayed in my throat. I could almost feel the tension building up in the theater.
Also, with subtle nods at certain Greek mythology figures and commentary on today’s political climate, this film felt truly iconic. While societal commentary is always expected in horror films, “Barbarian” leaves you questioning your own opinions on certain aspects of societal issues.
Cregger juggles the sensitive topic of a woman’s vulnerability in society with horror and comedy very tastefully. His experience in comedy shines in parts of the film with jarring transitions and dialogue, which caused an uproar in the audience on occasion.
With Cregger’s talent for horror and comedy, I cannot help but compare him to esteemed director Jordan Peele (director of “Nope,” “Us” and “Get Out”). Perhaps an unnoticed gem that cements a horror film as legendary is its ability to be comedic as well as frightening.
The lighting, cast and music were all large takeaways from this film, as well. With music done by Anna Drubich and cinematography done by Zach Kuperstein, “Barbarian” was an extremely clever and horrifying watch.
Needless to say, I left the theater feeling more than satisfied. Whatever you think this movie is about, you are wrong. “Barbarian” gives us something new yet familiar, something more than memorable. This tasteful breath of fresh air is something horror lovers everywhere will enjoy.