A double-booked Airbnb brings terror and twists in this delightful Halloween treat…
With Halloween Ends leaving a stench of despair among horror fans, Barbarian arrives at a time where its desperately needed, a reminder that the genre can be simply entertaining and thrilling, when its actually done right. Barbarian may not be the best horror film of 2022, but it’s exactly the film we need in our lives at this particular time.
The concept is simple but brilliantly executed by Zach Cregger, a first-time writer/director who displays all the creative tricks that suggests he has a massive future ahead of him as he cleverly injects his tale with enough dread and tension, that you’ll simply can’t take your eyes off what is unfolding. Going into this completely unknown is a must! You may think you know what is going to happen, but the script flips from one thing to the next that all expectations are thrown out of the window and much like last year’s Malignant, it’s the most fun you’ll have at the cinema this year.
But then, how can you watch this at the cinema when it cries out for a discussion during the watch? All around me in the dark, I heard the whispering of “what would you do?” as Tess (Georgina Campbell) makes decisions throughout that are either morally right or downright stupid. To go into it would spoil what’s ahead, but it’s been a long, long time since I’ve heard someone shouting towards the big screen going “Don’t do it…no….no….no….” and then realising that the voice was myself, among many more saying the exact same thing.
And yet it all starts so calm yet ominous. Tess arrives in Detroit for a job interview, rents an Airbnb that in daylight you’d never stay – she arrives when its dark and wet- only to find that it’s already been rented by a young man called Keith (Bill Skarsgård) and with nowhere to go, this stranger invites her to stay the night. Cue TITLE CARD and the first of many questions ringing through your head,
To be fair on Tess, she does everything right in terms of being suspicious of this guy. When he makes her a freshly made cup of tea, she has enough wits to just leave it untouched and the film cleverly plays with our expectations as we still have the memory of Skarsgård as Pennywise, so he must be evil right? Then Keith starts to play the game, as he offers her a drink from an unopened bottle of red which must be safe to drink and how about this weird coincidence that he has seen this low-budget documentary by the same woman that Tess is interviewing for.
Tess relaxes, a Rom Com is starting to develop and then….
After a jolt to our senses, the film then shows us the absolutely brilliant Justin Long a self-absorbed actor who is suddenly accused of a despicable crime from a female co-star and we also get a third storyline of the old owner of the AirBnB house (Richard Blake) in a flashback prequel that helps tie in all three storylines to a wonderful and quite splendid effect!
To say anymore will give the film a disservice and totally unfair on anyone going in with no knowledge of exactly where the storyline is heading.
Barbarian is at its strongest with the wonderful first act that racks up the tension and suspense unlike any other horror movie you’ll see this year with Cregger gleefully playing on your expectations. It’s what you “don’t see!” and “expect” that twists your imagination and while the reveal is something that has been done before, its the journey there that makes it so much fun.
Not many will argue that it goes silly towards the finale, but when a simple object like a babies milk bottle is able to bring laughs and scares in one simple swoop, once the final credits roll, you’ll soon start to realise that you’ve seen 2022’s most enjoyable horror that will hopefully banish the memory of a Corey and his Haddonfield nightmare….