Barbarian – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Barbarian – Terrors and Frights: An Airbnb Experience

With any genre, there is an expectation to experience certain excitements, emotions or laughter.  When it comes to horror, there is a hope to feel dread that isn’t too obvious or predictable.  Horror films are a dime a dozen, but the few that break these bounds can become … unforgettable.  In this review, I look at a new horror film that subverts expectation.  Through a simple setup, tension reigns supreme.  Barbarian is simply … a terrifying experience.

The story follows Tess (Georgina Campbell), as she rents out an Airbnb in Detroit.  When she arrives, she learns that it has been double booked by another renter, Keith (Bill Skarsgard).  As they adjust to their situation, strange things begin to occur.  As things turn dire, will Tess and Keith survive the Airbnb.  With any typical horror film, there is an introduction to character, place and conflict.  You have that general setup, but then it moves forward with a sense of ambiguity to the overall aspect of the journey.  There is a level of uncertainty created through situational setups and smart characters to create frightful moments through indifference.  After a quick introduction to Tess, Keith and their unfortunate situation, the story settles on building up these characters.  Through conversation we get a certain level of dynamism to their visit and reluctance towards each other.  As things subside and they form a friendship, oddities come through and showcase that … this house (and neighborhood) might not be the safest place in the city.  These leads through a series of events that build through ominous situations, atmospheric tension and subtlety of dread.  The obviousness of tropes is leveled with humanistic reactiveness, creating moments are haunting emotional terror.  As Tess discovers certain things about the house, it becomes a manner of how they will survive the Airbnb. 

As more revelations occur, everything is heightened through a lens of character brevity.  As certain moments happen, it provides layers that contrast the fright with wholesomeness.  The way characters react (to these revelations) adds girth to the horror elements, providing a journey that isn’t relying on typical jump scares.  As things come to light, it becomes a manner of consequences of choice.  I will not go any further (as it would spoil things) but know that it ends on a high note.  Barbarian truly defies expectation to create horror on another level.  Even with typical setups, you will be gripping your seat till the end.  If you are a horror fan, enjoy character stories or want something different, this is for you.  It is worth the full price of admission, worth seeing with a crowd at the theaters.   

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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