Barbarian movie review – With “Barbarian,” writer/director Zach Cregger establishes himself to be a genuine jack-in-the-box horror filmmaker, beginning with a nightmare that might happen to any of us—a double-booked Airbnb. Tess (an amazing Georgina Campbell) arrives late at night in the pouring rain at a little house in a neglected neighbourhood of Detroit, where a drowsy guy named Keith is already residing. He ultimately persuades her to remain until they can figure things out: she can see his hotel confirmation, he’ll take the sofa, and she can watch him open the bottle of wine someone left before he pours.
Cregger, of The Whitest Kids U’Know and his Playboy magazine frat comedy “Miss March,” understands exactly what he’s doing here. The optics of this lady putting herself in a vulnerable position are unsettling, and his economical cinematography nudges it just so. Soon enough, it’s time to investigate the basement, which, without giving too much away, you definitely don’t want to venture down there, or past the door that can be unlocked with a length of rope. In this novel, effective fear comes in varied proportions, sometimes as a result of forceful planning. Even when they get wilfully stupid, the spooky riddles and crazy discoveries in “Barbarian” are plenty visceral. (Barbarian movie review)
Did I mention that the other Airbnb man is played by “It” star Bill Skarsgrd? Consider Skarsgrd’s inclusion, one of the film’s disquieting components, as unnerving as the house’s countless secret, dark passageways, as more proof that casting is an important part of filmmaking. Here, the former Pennywise the Clown replaces his nonchalant demeanour, those round eyes, and that intimidating figure with a nervous babbling, going on and on while attempting to convey that he worries about Tess feeling comfortable in this strange scenario. Is it merely a show of force? Is Skarsgrd portraying another enticing creep? “Barbarian” gets a lot of adrenaline out of that question, and it’s answered in one of the film’s greatest sequences. (Barbarian movie review)
Barbarian movie review
Justin Long later appears at the residence. His Hollywood pal AJ is introduced driving down a seaside road in a convertible, only to learn over the phone that he’s been accused of doing something horrific to an actress. AJ is more worried with his profession and putting this behind him as someone who most likely done said stuff. Long is skilled at playing the guy’s genuinely awful personality, even down to a fantastic laugh-out-loud joke about how he gets involved with this problem at the Airbnb (“Barbarian” might be funnier, and its lack of additional comedic relief is a copout). A film like this thrives on the decisions that its characters make, and Long’s subtle creep is its most solid foundation. (Barbarian movie review)
There’s nothing particularly novel about “Barbarian,” and its use of a killed Detroit as a character doesn’t accomplish enough to dispel “Don’t Breathe” similarities, but Cregger’s endeavour is a daring curiosity. The film has a gripping sense for quickly cutting and flinging us from one terrifying scene to a another time zone or decade, enabling the audience to breathe before paying close attention to how the current life story will tie in. And there’s a sense of ambition in how these new components are used, forming vignettes out of cinematographer Zach Kuperstein’s various aspect ratios and long views, filling in the film’s rich atmosphere. The phrase “Barbarian” reverberates throughout, like the wailing chorus and shrieking strings from Anna Drubich’s soundtrack; its importance creates a terrifying metaphorical house of mirrors.
It’s nearly enough to distract from the fact that the first two acts of “Barbarian” lack the watertight ingenuity that could turn it into a terrific horror script. When Cregger depends on handy (to him) decisions of all types, the picture suffers. For example, in a tale that renders foreboding doors unnecessary, he can be quite strong in convincing characters to open them, peak in, and look about, forsaking the believable behaviour that gets us completely hooked in. “Barbarian” finally wants to be as bananas as possible, and the degeneration might be obvious. (Barbarian movie review)
Despite how easy his characters’ paths might appear at times, Cregger does an excellent job with the unsettling gloom that envelops them, which is heightened by witnessing a crazy film like this in the theatre. The expanses of pitch-black in “Barbarian” aren’t pleasant to look at, and your heart rate may concur.
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