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Saturday, October 29, 2022

Barbarian 2022 * * Stars


Justin Long appears in yet another horror film. A breast-feeding video is shown on an old TV. Two people book the same B & B at the same time sans any explanation. That's what you get with 2022's Barbarian. The critics have spoken (and spoken kindly) but I digress. I think the whole thing is a touch overrated. Just saying.

So yeah, Barbarian is a pic full of placed red herrings, a sort of broken-down, blood-stained heap if you will. Directed by rookie Zach Cregger, Barbarian could have gone the straight and narrow as a reverse, home invasion thriller. Bully for that. The flick goes off on tangents and when good old Long shows up (about thirty minutes in), Barbarian actually turns into noir, the kind of noir that ends with well, loose ends.

Now would I give Barbarian a favorable rating? I can't because it doesn't know what it wants to be nor does it really have a suitable coda. And do the actors give sort of rote performances in a movie that feels like an overtaxed guessing game? Sadly yes. If I wanted to watch a complex version of The Descent and/or Don't Breathe (with that bleak Detroit setting) I would do so at my own leisure. There's a mixing of genres here that's not scary, not judicious, and the film's lone flashback is almost like filler compared to everything that came before it.  

Barbarian stars Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard, and Justin Long (mentioned earlier). They're in a vehicle about a young woman who rents a home only to be terrorized by a demonized creature with severe mommy issues (ugh). In truth, Barbarian thinks it's too clever for its own good. It's as if its early Hitchcockian tendencies are able to make up for the acute lack of pacing. Sorry but no. It's too non-"primitive" for that. Natch. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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