Barbarian (2022)
September 10, 2022 12:39 PM - Subscribe

Traveling to Detroit for a job interview, Tess (Georgina Campbell) books a rental home. But when she arrives late at night, she discovers that the house is double booked and a strange man (Bill Skarsgård) is already staying there. Against her better judgement, she decides to spend the evening, but soon discovers that there's a lot more to fear than just an unexpected house guest.

Also starring Justin Long. Written & directed by Zach Cregger (from the comedy troupe, The Whitest Kids U Know).

92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (with 90 reviews>.

Now playing in theaters.
posted by DirtyOldTown (20 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is a fucking BANGER. If you think you want to see this do this as soon as you can, hearing as little as you can about it.

I'll talk more about this later, with spoilers, but I wanted to put right here at the top:
If you are visiting this thread to take the temp of the room on this one, RUN before having any part of it spoiled for you.
I am normally the kind of person who doesn't sweat spoilers and I kind of wrinkle my nose at those who do, but in this case, you really want to go in blind.

The trailer is perfect for giving a flavor of what to expect while showing basically nothing that happens after the first 30 minutes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:42 PM on September 10, 2022 [3 favorites]

Okay, I'm going to discuss theme a bit and that will necessitate spoilers.

To me, this is movie is about how buried evil isn't really ever buried, particularly if it's not so much "buried" as "something we have decided to move on from and stop thinking about."

The evil always goes more levels. Creepy basement that traps you -> secret panel -> creepy passage -> torture room -> even deeper passage/staircase -> human kennels -> fucked up breastfeeding room of monsters -> more tunnels -> pit cages -> psycho killer hospice room... It just goes and goes.

Consider the various reactions to the evil:
-woman of color: I'm playing by the rules and being careful, but I think something bad is here anyway
-basically decent white guy: Are you sure it's as bad as you say? (Overconfidently explores, as foreshadowed by Tess's speech about the inflated sense of security men have)
-older Black man: Yeah, this evil is real. All you can do is try and avoid it.
-shitty white guy: Why is this happening to me personally when clearly I am entitled to be in charge of this and every other situation? (Callously uses Tess as bait/distraction to try and save his own life.)

The Justin Long character is the most satrlirical because he goes from being indignant that he may not exactly "own" the property he paid for, to brushing off bad omens to go drink with the boys, to also overconfidently exploring, to thinking of a murder dungeon strictly in terms of square footage to age a real estate sale (that had us IN STITCHES), to endangering people, to having a real awakening about the evil he has done in his life and his decision to just live with it, to deciding to do more evil the very first next time it suits him.

So it's a movie about evil underneath and frankly, I know this is a Very MetaFilter Thing to Say, but in 2022 I don't know how you read this as being anything other than a statement on America.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:03 PM on September 10, 2022 [16 favorites]

Also, in being dismissive, insulting, and combative, the cops on this movie were some of the most realistic I have ever seen on screen.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:13 PM on September 10, 2022 [20 favorites]

Caught this today and was highly impressed, also really glad it was in the Dolby theater at my local go-to multiplex to get the most out of that ominous, rumbling score. And absolutely cannot recommend enough that anyone seeing it does so knowing as little as possible. It's a ride.

I couldn't help but think the scene with Long measuring the square footage of the murder cavern might have been the genesis of the entire movie, because it's such a simple but hilariously unexpected and bizarre thing for a character to do. I can easily imagine writer/director Zach Cregger thinking of that image, cracking up, and working backward to engineer how to get a character to reasonably (-ish) get to where they're performing that action.
posted by tomorrowromance at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2022 [7 favorites]

From the director of Miss March (which I watched because of its awful reviews and wound up enjoying).
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 5:51 PM on September 10, 2022

Mrs. Gefilte and I saw this in the theatre tonight. (Hooray for full-reclining seats!) It was definitely bonkers, but in a very enjoyable way. The Mrs. pointed out the brief shot of Tess's copy of "Jane Eyre" (when Justin Long is rummaging through the suitcases in the house) which is probably a not-so-subtle nod to the relationship between Rochester and Bertha, the general awfulness of entitled white men, and what happens when, as DirtyOldTown points out, you try to bury the evil that you've done.
posted by greatgefilte at 6:53 PM on September 10, 2022 [4 favorites]

Just finished watching it - first time in a movie theatre since pre-covid. It was very enjoyable.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 1:31 PM on September 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Okay, it’s an amazing perfect film. But where was Keith’s car the whole time? He came and went. My wife said maybe he Ubered but… to there?

Also really love how the town name was said as the movie title.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2022

Someone in my town just started up a horror movie fans meetup group which is great because my wife isn't really a horror fan so I usually don't see stuff in theaters, but I am glad I made the effort for this one. I thought it was really good as well. That hard cut to Justin Long in LA was very disorientating (in a good way) after a good 20 solid minutes of tension and the rest of the movie, while maybe a touch predicable in hindsight, was still a fun ride.
posted by Captain_Science at 5:14 AM on September 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

From the director of Miss March (which I watched because of its awful reviews and wound up enjoying).

Ha, I was wondering why Alamo showed the trailer for that before the movie!

This was great fun, I’d seen the trailer but deliberately didn’t look up anything else and I was thrilled when pretty much everything in it had already happened by like a third of the way in.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:24 PM on September 25, 2022

I went into this completely blind, not having even seen the trailer. At first I was kind of shocked by the rapid tonal shifts and wasn't too sure what to think of the film when I first walked out of it a few nights ago. But I can't stop thinking about it, which is a sign I perhaps liked it better than my first reaction.
posted by weathergal at 3:44 PM on September 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Nothing makes me happier than horror movies that switch their whole game up a third of the way in, and I was thrilled that my instant reaction to AJ (oh, no!!!) was paid off so handsomely by the film. I got a little choked up by the creature calling Tess her baby at the end, though. Poor creature. AJ could have taken longer to die; otherwise I've got no notes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:05 PM on October 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Glad I heeded advice and avoided spoilers! What a fun ride, well done. I kinda wish I'd seen it in a full theater to feel the vibe of some of the parts that are no no no no no nono nonono.

The serial killer background is a bit rote but in the moment it's all scary and awful at the right times.

Interesting that they built the street out in Bulgaria, and used an "America town" set lol. The house's interior does look very stagey and that's one of the unsettling things about it tbh. The director said the idea was "Fincher upstairs, Raimi downstairs".
posted by fleacircus at 9:28 PM on October 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

I heard an extended interview with Cregger on Colors of the Dark and he was really humble and went out of his way to praise his collaborators on production design, etc. To hear him tell it, the original financiers did not let him choose most of his crew. He was just assigned a bunch of Bulgarians he did not know. But it turned out they were sharp creatives who knew his references and he was able to speak in a kind of film nerd to film nerd short hand ("Evil Dead II on this shot") and they understood completely and made it happen.

He was impressed enough that he made a point of promising to connect Rebekah McKendry and Eric Kane (both indie horror filmmakers themselves) to the team he used in Bulgaria if they wished.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:03 AM on October 27, 2022

I needed to spoil this film for myself in order to get through it and I'm so glad I did. I was actually able to watch and enjoy this one without worrying about shitting my pants or having a panic attack. Surprisingly thought-provoking, if a little bit on the nose in moments. At the same time, I think some of the subtext might have been buried a bit too deep.

I'm looking forward to finding some interesting analysis re: Reaganism, abandoned Detroit, the American Dream, culpability, feminism, racism, and more. Seems like there's a lot going on in this one.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:00 PM on October 30, 2022

> But where was Keith’s car the whole time? He came and went. My wife said maybe he Ubered but… to there?

I think the fact that he lives in Detroit, but also apparently needed to rent a place on the other side of town in order to "scope things out" implied that he doesn't have easy access to transportation and is either Ubering or maybe even on foot (unlikely, given the neighbourhood, but not impossible). Otherwise, yeah, why the heck is he even renting a place in the city in which he already lives?

Putting that aside, I thought this was a wild movie. It was a ride! I went in knowing nothing and the cut about halfway through, when Justin Long's character is suddenly introduced was jarring (in a good way) because it suddenly seemed like an entirely different movie for a good 15 minutes.

There were a lot of plot points that were introduced and seemed interesting, but which they didn't really explore too deeply. That was probably for the best, because it would have ruined the pacing and the mystery of things, but I also really want to know more about the creepy lore of the whole underground compound.
posted by asnider at 9:51 AM on November 1, 2022

Just watched this with my husband. He was surprised that the cops didn't show up at the end to respond to the gunshot and kill Tess. After all, they had already decided she was a crazy crackhead and now she's armed.
posted by lilywing13 at 3:46 PM on November 15, 2022 [1 favorite]

Saw the movie completely blind when it showed up on Half in the Bag. Loved it!
posted by Pendragon at 2:29 PM on November 18, 2022

And you really should watch the part of Half in the Bag where Mike reads out 1-star user reviews.
posted by Pendragon at 2:41 PM on November 18, 2022

> The director said the idea was "Fincher upstairs, Raimi downstairs".

The horror mullet: Fincher at the front, Raimi at the back!
posted by kandinski at 10:04 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]

« Older Movie: The Anthrax Attacks...   |  Movie: See How They Run... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments