Starring: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long
Director: Zack Cregger
As a person who has a high bar for horror, Barbarian is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in several years. Admitting that I knew very little going in, it continually kept me in suspense, especially as it subverted many of my expectations, while boasting jump scares, creepy suspense, and palpable tension. The actors, while good, aren’t asked to do too much, as the movie mostly succeeds solely on its direction, writing, and score. It’s a genuine breath of fresh air for the genre, which, if you ask me, is pretty much anything that isn’t another sequel or spinoff of The Conjuring.
Barbarian – sure to be dubbed by many as this year’s Malignant – is a wild ride. Although its start is a bit rough, it eventually settles into a pace more befitting its story…then abruptly turns the dial so you have no idea where it’s all meant to be heading until what the film is trying to say comes sharply into focus. The one thing I wish the film did better is commit to the ending it clearly wants to have, but still, anything that somehow blends Ti West, Terrence Malick, and Don’t Breathe…and still comes out this coherent…deserves praise.