LH Movie Review: Barbarian

Thrilling horror release shines light on the everyday terrors of womanhood.

Naomi Hemley and Greta Hayek

Barbarian, released July 22nd, 2022, is a must see for horror lovers. The beginning of Barbarian introduces the main protagonist, Tess, played by Georgina Campell. She had planned to stay in an Airbnb near the building of her job interview, but when she arrives at the house, she finds that the key isn’t there. As she fails to contact the renting company, a light turns on from inside the house. This is where Keith, played by Bill Skarsgård, enters the story. He explains that he, too, had rented the house, but from a different website. When Tess attempts to head back to her car, Keith suggests she stay the night, himself taking the couch and her taking the bed, until they sort out the misunderstanding. Although reluctant, Tess agrees.

When strange noises come from inside of the house, it leads Tess to a secret passageway in the basement and the film’s mood quickly shifts from an eerie encounter to completely abnormal circumstances. The first death happens halfway through the film, quickly launching the watcher into the second act with very little time to process the gory event. The immediate switch to a new character in an earlier time frame also presents a confusing tone, keeping the viewers on edge. The many unexpected flashbacks, each with their own different color palette and dark twist, leave the watcher never knowing what’s going to happen next.

Contrary to a handful of other horror movies, the first death in Barbarian doesn’t occur until halfway through the film. The plot twists in Barbarian are unexpected, and the movie is completely different than the way its advertisement portrays it. This film is filled to the brim with suspense and heart racing sequences. Playing with the watcher’s mind, it further presents ambiguity in the identity of the villain. The main point of Barbarian is to shed light on the everyday terrors of womanhood; a multitude of characters seem threatening to Tess, so she has to navigate blindly in order to survive. When she tries to get help and explain the peculiar situation, others don’t believe or help her.

Many slasher films have gore and sexual content, whereas Barbarian has gore and a few gross, uncomfortable scenes. The backstory is also incredibly disturbing, which should be taken into consideration before watching. It can also be frustrating at times when characters are in a life or death situation and react unintelligently. For example, running in the opposite direction of the exit. Although we thought that this movie gave us a good scare, it certainly is not for everyone.The gore in this movie as well is done incredibly, with the majority being prosthetics and practical effects. Although Barbarian can be unrealistic at times, the combination of thrilling jumpscares and an interesting backstory creates an engrossing film.