Video: Barbarian (2022)

You won’t want to book an Airbnb after seeing Barbarian. 

Zach Cregger, one of the founding members of the comedy sketch The Whitest Kids U Know, makes an impressive directorial debut by creating a stellar well-crafted attention-grabbing horror film that, despite some illogical frustrating character choices, still amounts to a pleasant uniquely edited terror that will sustain audience attention and may even get an occasional laugh.

Tess Marshall (Georgina Campbell) arrives at a rental home only to find it’s been double booked. Due to unavailability and poor weather, she decides to stay at the home after being reassured by the other tenant Keith (Bill Skarsgård) that Tess can have the sole bedroom. A wild unexpected story begins to unwind.

The biggest flaw in Barbarian is the poor choices that characters decide to make and if you think critically about the character choices it may be enough to take you out of the story. Fortunately, despite the illogical decisions made by characters, there were enough positive aspects of the film that I felt outweighed this primary burden that the film carried.

One of the aspects that sets Barbarian apart from other horror films is the way the narrative is structured; it’s unconventional and the trailer doesn’t reveal that. It looks like a straightforward story and despite the premise being intriguing to me (as someone who uses Airbnb to rent out rooms), I was skeptical that this premise could be stretched out for the length of a feature film without becoming sluggish. The pacing does not disappoint because as soon as we come to what feels like a thrilling conclusion at the 45 minute arc, the writers do something not often done; it’s a huge risk, but an unorthodox choice involving the editing that pays off heavily with keeping the eerie story fresh. The surprise is not advertised in the trailer and as much as I want to discuss how clever it is and why, I would rather not spoil it for my audience. What I can say is the choices made showcase the use of wonderful editing. This decision was clever, unexpected, and kept the pacing fresh.

The story is also fairly simple and slowly expands. What is revealed in the trailer is enough to hook you to want to learn what all could possibly go wrong at an Airbnb and what I love is that the story is certainly not predictable; there’s no way to fathom the events that eventually unfold. Horror enthusiasts will need to be a little patient as nothing but teases stalls for the first 40 minutes but once the first inciting action unleashes this movie doesn’t stop

Actors Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long all do terrific at portraying their roles. Although each character makes questionable choices that may frustrate you, the actors deliver solid performances that effectively convey fear and dread throughout the film. Additionally, it’s no surprise that Director Cregger who stems from a comedic background has some moments for these characters that will allow you to laugh after sitting through tense sequences.

Final Verdict:An attention-grabbing horror that, despite some illogical frustrating character choices, still amounts to a pleasant uniquely edited terror.