In general, this year has brought a whole ton of liquid and simply dull horror to the genre. So it will be hard for Varvara to find more or less sane competitors. In my eyes, a project rich in its production and cast (within the genre, of course) has every chance to rise above this parade of infamy, called “horror films of 2022”.
At least until the intriguing Smile project went to digital release.
Pennywise on gender rates
Posters, trailers and promotional videos actively convince viewers that the project is in good hands. Such works as “Black Mirror”, “The Ring” of 2002 and “It” of 2017 should be familiar to you, as well as Bill Skarsgard himself, who gave us the most recent image of the clown Pennywise. But don’t rely on Skarsgård. The actor actively jumped on the audience in the trailer of the project and participated in its promotional campaign. However, the amount of his screen time will obviously not please you.
Director Zack Cregger was carried towards the California agenda, a talented actor turned out to be not much needed, and a black actress Georgina Campbell, whose heroine is always oppressed by toxic men, came to the fore. However, all this does not greatly affect the perception, so we can safely move on to the plot.
Stopped in for a day, stayed forever
Girl Tess (Georgina Campbell) arrives for an interview in Detroit, but due to ridiculous circumstances, she rents a house in which a guy named Keith (Bill Skarsgård) has already settled. Not the most pleasant environment outside this house forces her to stay the night with this strange boy. However, a couple of glasses of wine and heartfelt conversations bring the characters closer.
But the romantic idyll is broken by a strange door in the basement, which leads to terrible underground catacombs. As luck would have it, the characters are locked up, and inhuman cries and sighs are already heard ahead. Here the owner of the house enters the plot, and there are even more questions, because the realtor reports that no one has been settled in the house for two whole weeks.
Now, I will praise myself for the fact that I was able to tell the plot of the film so concisely, and scold the creators for the fact that this plot stretched for half of the entire running time. For the first 30 minutes, the movie doesn’t move at all. In this half hour, viewers are rewarded with a whole pack of one-celled dialogues between Keith and Tess, who is sure to mention how male goats spoiled her blood in the past.
Light at the end of the cellar
But once we get past that ordeal, the movie finally picks up the pace. And the first thing that catches the eye, or rather pours into the ears, is the powerful sound and musical accompaniment, which pumps up the atmosphere and draws the audience into the story.
And there is something to get involved in. Pleasantly pleased that the director is not shy about juggling mood and visual styling. At some point, the picture changes the aspect ratio, color correction is rebuilt, and the plot manages to move back several decades. And all these tricks do not look foreign, because it is clear that this is just another thread that will eventually lead you to this sinister basement.
It is interesting that in such non-trivial ways, the creators not only give answers or half-hints to previously asked questions, but also ask new ones, thanks to which the viewer’s attention does not disappear, but rather multiplies.
Turning into the darkest corner
Starting a conversation about the minuses, it is certainly worth mentioning the characters, or rather even the characters. After all, they worked on them in a fairly cotton mode, and on some they even scored, like on the hero Bill Skarsgadr, for example. As a result, at least a little interesting character is the same owner of the house.
The main character, it is not at all clear why on earth she decides to play the savior of people completely unfamiliar to her. And she received the strength of her body and character not only from humiliations in the past, but from the light hand of the writers. In general, it would be possible to turn a blind eye to stupid characters without problems if the authors did not try to make us empathize with them. These attempts look just pathetic.
To spice up this sauce from the minuses, it was possible to plot twists, because some of them are easier to predict. And the ending, although filled with some meanings, looks just poor, but I would like an anguish, epic and emptiness in the soul after watching, as is the case with worthy representatives of the genre.
In the dry season – go!
Frankly, the film does not cope with the main task of horror. It will not scare you, but it will definitely intrigue and immerse you in its atmosphere.
And again we return to a not very successful year for horror cinema. The project was insanely lucky that there were simply no opponents in the ring. In general, if the Barbarian came out any other year, he would rightly receive his five and go into oblivion. However, the fall of 2022 gave him the opportunity to proudly stand on this podium and be proud of his 7/10.
It’s been a long time since I’ve watched movies that make you feel creepy after seeing a woman’s breasts, but at the same time, in the middle of the movie, I just screamed from damn funny moments. I think that the second Jordan Peele appeared to this world, because the director of the horror “The Barbarian” Zack Cregger has his debut independent film, which he himself wrote-directed-produced! Dude came with trump cards, bravo! Zack, by the way, is a comedian in the past, and this explains those idiotically funny scenes in the film. Of course, you have to give credit to Justin Long (My Ex’s Wedding, Jeepers Creepers, etc.), his talent for playing a greedy dumbass is amazing)) Just remember that the measuring tape scene will be the best scream of laughter in the film. Oh yeah, and nipples too, but, perhaps, I will not spoil anything more)
In general, the whole plot is very banal and clichéd, but Zach managed to make a really pumping work out of it. It is filmed in a rather unusual way. Moving the camera in some scenes (especially at first) is a separate pleasure. In the film, by the way, there were almost 3 mini-movies, and from this the viewer suddenly rushes from turn to turn.
And the presence of Bill Skarsgard in the film by default makes the film very tense from the very beginning, because we know what Pennywise is capable of.
Who will go this slasher? For fans of “Black Phone”, “Wrong Turn”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, “House of Wax”, “I’m going to look.” That’s it, I won’t say anything else, I don’t want to spoil the magnificent 1.5 hours of viewing for you.
Synopsis. Detroit is not the safest place in the world, and its nighttime suburb is practically South Butovo. It was there that Tess (Georgina Campbell) was lucky enough to rent an apartment through AirBnb, in which, due to a system error, Keith (Bill Skarsgård) had already moved in. On a rainy night, you can’t really get anywhere, so the girl will have to stay until morning in the house with a stranger. A terrible nightmare turns out to be a rom-com, in which the characters get to know each other better, and the real horror is hidden in the basement of the ill-fated house. It remains only to open the dubious door leading to the underground tunnel, and, of course, go down there out of pure curiosity.
Bill Skarsgård as Keith in a scene from The Barbarian
🎬 Barbarian at the trailer stage seemed like a boring horror movie. But, fortunately for us, class B actor (sorry Billy) and director of a couple of unknown comedies, Zack Cregger, unexpectedly for everyone, wrote and directed almost ” Citizen Kane ” of modern horror. Everything we saw in the trailer is literally the first 20 minutes from the entire timing, then the story unfolds from the most unexpected sides.
Georgina Campbell as Tess Marshall in The Barbarian
Not only does Cregger whip up suspense with almost Hitchcockian skill, making the disturbed viewer fidget in his chair at the sight of such simple things as a cup of green tea, but he does incredible things with the dynamics of the plot. The film is similar to painting a picture by numbers: a chaotic set of dots begins to take shape only in the middle of the action. The many “guns on the walls” and “breadcrumbs” scattered throughout the film seem completely meaningless, but when they come together in one big impressive picture, you have every chance of losing your head.
Barbarian is perfectly integrated into a new round of horror: like the films “It”, “Hereditary“, “Male Gender”. He uses fear and basement evil to explore trauma and hidden corners of the mind. As in The Male Family, the heroine is placed in circumstances screaming danger: an abandoned area with aggressive homeless people, an enclosed space with an unfamiliar man, a dry red cabernet from a supermarket. But the study of a woman’s sense of self in a patriarchal world turns out to be only a warm-up for the plot. Cregger stuffed the Barbarian to capacity with symbolism that is easy to read, if you do not take everything that happens quite literally. To say more is to spoil. Better be sure to see for yourself!