Barbarian (2022) a (almost right on time!) review

Heard a lot of good things about this film when it was released in August and, thanks to the speedy move from theaters to streaming, I managed to catch Barbarian a few days ago.

Here’s the trailer:

Barbarian is an intriguing horror film whose plot is probably best left for viewers to discover, so I won’t get too into what happens.

I will say this much (and you can see some of it in the trailer above) we start with Tess (Georgina Campbell, quite good) showing up at a home she rented through Airbnb only to discover another person, Kieth (Bill Skarsgård, also quite good) is already there renting it. His rental was through another agency and it looks like a simple screw up, though Tess is rightfully uncomfortable with the whole situation and takes a while before warming up -with plenty of guards up- to Kieth.

I’ll not say more, except that the home carries a very scary history and plenty of deep secrets, all of which will be revealed in the end.

I liked the film but will fault it on its tone. It’s kinda all over the place, at times outright horror while at other times seems to be emulating the crazed horror/comedy stylings of an Evil Dead 2. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, but it does make the film feel at times off kilter and unfocused, like it is either not sure where it was going with some of its elements and/or parts of its tone were made up as they went along.

There is also a lot of misdirection, of characters who seem like they might play a larger role in the story but don’t and things that are done which seem like they might be important but aren’t (there’s a Checkov’s gun-like artifact you can spot in the trailer above which has absolutely no payoff and I can’t help but wonder if maybe as the film was being edited down that payoff element was ultimately cut).

Still, Barbarian is ultimately a very entertaining horror/comedy hybrid and while not all of its parts may mesh perfectly well, it is ultimately worth the wild ride.