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BARBARIAN 😊

Very stylish, with a chaotic script.

PREMISE

A woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems.

THE GOOD STUFF

THE PERFORMANCES- One of the main things bad horror movies do, is cast actors who seem like they’re just going through the motions. Hitting all the beats that all the B-level horror film protagonists have hit once before, and it comes off as very…copy and paste – let’s just say. However, Bill Skarsgard, Justin Long, and especially Georgina Campbell have delightful performances in this film. Campbell, especially, goes above and beyond; hopefully, we will see more of her in the future.

ZACH CREGGER…THE DIRECTOR-I’m honestly unfamiliar with the work of Zach Cregger outside of his show The whitest kids you know, which ran on IFC for a couple of seasons. What can be said about him is that he’s a director with a lot of imagination in a genre where many directors have very little.

The tension built up in this film is genuine; the scares that happen aren’t manufactured boo scares, and some characters have been built up to be cared about by the audience, not just statistics for the film’s antagonist. You can tell Cregger has his distinctive style. And that should always be applauded when it comes to this genre.

THE 1ST ACT- The first act is a very slow build. It is atmospheric, it is creepy, and it’s building to something major. It is centered around two likable, awkward strangers in a very bizarre situation where even the slightest unusual thing (an unlocked door, a weirdly placed toothbrush, certain awkward pauses in conversation) creates instantaneous discomfort. In the first act, Cregger’s directorial efforts shine more than any other section in the film.

THE BAD STUFF

THE FINALE- For this movie to be as stylistically compelling as it is, it deserved a better ending than it gave. The conclusion to this movie is so abrupt that I have to think about any other film ending in such a way.

The few people I saw this movie with actually respected the way that it ended. This may be something that just bothers me, but it bothered me a great deal.

THE UGLY STUFF

ZACH CREGGER…THE WRITER- Usually, Mosaic type storytelling such as this involves constant switching between characters’ storylines until their fates collide with one another. However, barbarian focuses on one story at a time, so when the following story is introduced, it is EXTREMELY jarring to the film’s pace.

Plot points introduced early on have absolutely no usage later on in the film. Flashback scenes set up character storylines that don’t need to exist. And honestly, this is an hour-and-45-minute film that very well could have justifiably run 80 minutes and told the whole story.

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Stylistically speaking, barbarian is as good as American horror films tend to get. However, it is somewhat of a miracle that the script can be this WILDLY disjointed and have the movie maintain respectability by the end. 

BARBARIAN is in theatres now.  

Eli Brumfield

Eli Brumfield in an actor/screenwriter from Seattle Washington, living in Los Angeles.

He is the host of the RV8 Podcast.

He hates the word cinefile, but considering how many films he consumes in a week...and how many films he goes out of his way to see, no matter the genre...he kinda seems to be one.

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