Review by Sarah Murnane
Barbarian (Zach Cregger, 2022) is the latest film in the yearly round of horror movies to come out around Halloween. Unfortunately as opposed to some other great horror flicks this season, Barbarian is fairly standard. The film stars Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgård, who meet when both are double booked for the same Airbnb. The pair, having nowhere else to go, are forced to share the house and soon discover the horrors that lay inside.
The main issue with this movie is the same as most horror movies, the clichés. I know it seems redundant to judge a horror movie on the amount of clichés it includes, but Barbarian really has a lot of them. All horror movies must be pulled forward by the protagonist making bad decisions, hence why they end up in bad situations. However, a few clichés are excusable, but the entire exposition of the film being a combination of going into dark scary rooms and shouting “Hello?” down an abandoned hidden tunnel is a bit much. Not only does it pull the viewer out of the horror experience, it’s clumsy writing.
In spite of this, the actors really do a phenomenal job considering what they are given. Georgina Campbell is exemplary in her role and helps the script at its poorest moments with her immersive performance. Bill Skarsgård provides a great performance as usual and the pair complement each other brilliantly. Alongside their amazing performances, the cinematography and camera work is phenomenal. Barbarian successfully attempts some excellent first person shots that help add to its tense and anxious atmosphere. While most of the film is confined to a small area, lighting and cinematography help to keep the audience engaged with what is happening on screen.
The final point about this film is the plot. The plot relies on presenting as predictable, but introducing various twists as the film progresses. There is definitely a central theme that the film follows and a message it wants to portray about gender. While this is an intriguing way to frame a horror movie, the way it is developed feels too on the nose. Alongside the clichés that drive the film forward, the internal message comes off as awkward.
Overall, if you are a general fan of horror films you will find Barbarian enjoyable. It is a good seasonal horror movie that definitely would be a great film to see with friends. While it is entertaining, it is definitely not ground breaking.