Barbarian is a twisted, weird, and shocking thriller that deserves nothing more than to be seen on the big screen with a room packed full of people just as confused as you are. Viewers might think they know what they are in store for, but trust us, they have no idea.
From the mind of Zach Cregger, Barbarian hones in on the subtle red flags that someone can give off in a conversation that should alert you they are up to no good, however it is also so much more than that. Inspired by the book, The Gift of Fear, Cregger started off writing this film as a simple scene and never had the intention of writing a movie. As it started to evolve into more, he established the rule that as long as he was surprising himself, he would keep going. It is because of this that Barbarian is unlike anything you have ever seen before. It is part comedy, part thriller, and all shockingly twisted.
This is one of those movies that is difficult to review because it is best enjoyed for those who know as little about it as possible. It starts off on a dark and rainy night, because of course, it does, as Tess (Georgina Campbell) drives up to her Airbnb. In true horror fashion, something isn’t right. There is no key in the lockbox — but there is someone inside.
Keith (Bill Skarsgård) claims that he booked the home on another website. The two are forced to spend the night together, which plays out in a bit of a romantic comedy fashion. However, things are not as they seem, and Barbarian is about to get bonkers. Like insanely bonkers. Viewers will be laughing nervously, looking around at each other, and trying to piece it all together as unexpected characters and surprises come into the story. Buckle up, because you are in for a wild ride.
As for the cinematography, Cregger was clearly inspired by Sam Raimi. There are a lot of directorial decisions that seem to be taken out of his book as well. That said, this movie is not an imitation of Raimi’s work, rather a love letter to it. Cregger still adds in much of his own style, which is what helps to make Barbarian work so well. The writing is so witty and clever that it will keep audiences entertained as they try to put all the pieces together — which they will have a hard time doing. That, plus the main cast, bring something special to Barbarian to make it one of the best thrillers in years.
The underlying message to the movie is about monsters — but not your typical monsters. It touches on the different personalities of people and poses the question — who truly is the barbarian in this film? This is a brilliant move as it will have audiences dwelling on Barbarian for a long time. It is a ridiculously fun watch, but it is also one of those films that will stay in the back (and front) of your brain for a while. There will be many conversations between friends and on social media discussing what happened, and what it all means. Audiences are sure to connect with characters they never expected to, and love to hate others.
This film has blood, gore, and some incredible chase sequences. It is shocking, terrifying, and somehow also quite funny. Barbarians is best seen on the big screen, in a room full of people that all have no clue what they are in for. Trust us, you won’t see anything coming — and that is what works so well about it.
Tessa Smith AKA Mama's Geeky, is a journalist that covers geek and Disney culture on her own website, as well as freelances for other sites such as What's On Disney Plus and Screen Rant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing and loves all things geeky. She is a Disney Vacation Club member and a Founders Circle Member of Disney+. She is also an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Critics Choice Association. Tessa lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs named Sansa and Khaleesi.