Review – Barbarian

A few weeks ago I checked the imdb page for this film to remind myself of the release date. I saw it was written and directed by Zach Cregger. I said to myself “This cannot be the same Zach Cregger I’m thinking of.” But I clicked on his name and sure enough, one of the men responsible for The Whitest Kids U’Know (RIP Trevor Moore), instrumental in my sense of humor when I was a teenager, had indeed made this film. Zach Cregger of all people has crafted one of my favorite films of the year in Barbarian, and one of the wildest I’ll see in a minute. It is gleefully insane, and gloriously horrifying. 

If you haven’t seen it, stop reading and go see it. You want to go in with as little knowledge as possible. I won’t even do a little plot synopsis here, because nothing can prepare you for where this film goes. 

I thought Georgina Campbell was just phenomenal in this. She’s such an intuitive performer, and you just buy every emotion she shows. You can really tune into her and understand the thought processes of her character and putting things together without her saying a word. It’s one of my favorite performances of the year. Bill Skarsgard is very charming here, getting to tap into more soft and comedic sensibilities than we usually see from him. Justin Long is terrific here as well. Without giving anything away, he’s just so much better at playing an absolute piece of shit than I thought he would be. 

The cinematography from Zach Kuperstein is excellent. He and Cregger are very confident in their framing and pacing of the shots. There’s a kinetic feel to how they give you information, they’re confident you can keep up. It’s also admirable that with half the scenes in this movie being lit by flashlight or phonelight, you’re not lost in the darkness. You’re still getting everything you need to keep up. And the lack of light makes for some ghastly, haunting images. The score from Anna Drubich is very nice. There’s a synth work that kicks in at a few different spots that you know spells certain doom. 

The gore and effects are top notch. This film features some ghastly, brutal images that are done convincingly, and terrifyingly. I let out a few “HOLY SHIT”s during the runtime. The gory moments are massively inventive and shocking. Also, given it’s Cregger, the comedic moments really hit. I was laughing pretty hard at a few lines. 

The comparisons to Malignant are apt and valid. It’s wacky, unpredictable, scary and just a fucking blast. I didn’t know Cregger had this in him. Bravo, sign me up for more. I’m in. It’s some of the most fun you can have in a theater this year. It just fucking rips so hard. I’m so happy. Just go watch it, I’ll probably join you for another go. 

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