(CTN News) – This is a movie like Barbarian is best enjoyed by an audience that knows as few details about it as possible. Its trailer encourages this to an extent that might turn some viewers off.
The layered secrets of Barbarian attract horror movie fans
It divulges little beyond the film’s initial setup. It makes sense for horror movies to keep secrets – viewers are simply more scared if they don’t know what’s coming. It is only after these surprises are eliminated that a movie is proven to be well-constructed.
Despite its 102-minute running time, Barbarian still offers a lot after revealing its secrets. There is something to be scared of in this movie beyond its initial ominous portrait of the quiet horror that lurks inside houses. When two strangers are forced to meet on a stormy night, they become close.
This film is written and directed by Zach Cregger (formerly of the sketch comedy group The Whitest Kids U’ Know). When Tess Marshall (Georgina Campbell) arrives at an Airbnb outside Detroit.
She discovers that it has been double-booked and that Keith (Bill Skarsgård) is already staying there. Due to a storm and an upcoming job interview the next morning, Tess decides to stay the night in a storm.
Tess is a memorable modern horror-movie protagonist doe-eyed but not naïve, a guarded but kind young woman who just wants to land a good job and return home. Despite her kindness and desire to believe in the positive about others, she makes terrible decisions, the kind every horror protagonist must make.
To Keith’s credit, he is aware of the situation. As a savvy man, he knows Tess has no reason to trust him, and everything to fear from him. In order to alleviate that awareness, he makes sure she’s as comfortable as possible.
The weight and history of too many women being threatened by too many men hang heavy in a situation like this. This casts a shadow over Barbarian as a whole.
Keith tries repeatedly to put Tess at ease, but she – and the audience – can never really trust him. (Even if Skarsgrd doesn’t look like Pennywise in the recent It movies, the unsettling energy is still present.)