7/10 A strong, independent horror film, the marketing for “Barbarian” might be as impressive as the film itself. A big problem with modern films today is that trailers give away too much to entice audiences to the theater, only to realize the best moments were spoiled in the trailer(s). Even the running time for trailers has ballooned to over three minutes in many situations, simply showing too much. “Barbarian” has a fantastic trailer that intrigues you, slightly misdirects you (it sets your expectations for one thing only to have something else entirely happen once you view the film) and doesn’t give anything away. In fact, the trailer basically only shows footage from the first third of the film, which I love. While not perfect, “Barbarian” has a lot going for it. Writer/director Zach Cregger, best known for his comedic chops and being from the group “The Whitest Kids U’Know”, is able to smoothly transition into dark horror, while luckily sliding in a little comic relief that never feels forced. As is often the case with some of the best horror films ever made, the story is simple yet effective. Since there are minimal characters, we get to know them well and they get proper development. Leading actress Georgina Campbell is someone whose work I haven’t seen so while I was familiar with the bodies of work from Justin Long and Bill Skarsgård, Campbell was the unknown variable but she does a fantastic job here and it makes me want to seek out some of her other work. The premise of the film states, “A woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems.” Thankfully, the premise is accurate but doesn’t give anything else away and is vague enough to keep the audience wondering just what exactly is going on. For a $4 million film the production values are top notch with Anna Drubich’s score (mixed with wonderfully creepy sound editing/mixing) and Zach Kuperstein’s claustrophobic cinematography being standouts. Cregger knows how to stage his scenes and really build tension. Since so much of the film takes place below a house, in the dark and in narrow passageways, we as the audience really feel the fear that our characters go through as we can only see what they see, which isn’t much. The practical effects utilized look fantastic and the overall tone/mood of the film is unsettling, disturbing and sucks you in from start to finish. The pacing works great as the film’s three acts are fairly separate yet have a continuous thread to connect them all. As for what didn’t work, there are some minor questions dealing with the story that I will try to discuss without veering into spoiler territory. You really have to suspend your disbelief when it comes to some basic questions for some of the…things…dwelling underneath the house. If multiple people were taken over the years, where are the bodies? If they were eaten, where then are the bones? Were they discarded? How were property owners completely unaware of what was going on in and under the house? I get that renting it out as an Air BnB rental means the owner is less hands on and doesn’t spend as much time there but when you buy a home you should at least be informed of what is underneath your property/connected to it. When some of the “things” living under the house got up there in age, how were they surviving when it came to food/water? At some point they were too old/weak to be up and about grocery shopping and didn’t have a cell phone to order groceries delievered to the house. Finally, the film wants us to believe that a creature of incest magically has super human strength, which last I checked, incest doesn’t give you. If that were the case then the entire state of Alabama would be full of super human fighting machines. On a side note, it is also worth noticing how the Detroit neighborhood in the film was thriving decades ago and then after decades of Democrats in charge, shows how the city and surrounding neighborhoods went to absolute shit. Despite some of the lapses in logic and having to overlook certain impossible things, this is actually still one of the best horror offerings of 2022 so far. Strong acting, a simple plot, shocking twists and turns and fantastic production design make this horror offering worth watching, especially as we draw nearer to Halloween…

#TheyreComingToGetYouBarbarian / #GotMilk? / #DetroitShockTitty / #ThePeopleUnderTheAirsBnB / #ScareBnB / #NakedInsularity

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