‘Barbarian’: A Tongue-Twisting, Subversive, and Chaotic Rollercoaster 

‘Barbarian’: A Tongue-Twisting, Subversive, and Chaotic Rollercoaster 

(Photo from IMDb)

After searching for the perfect impromptu scary film, I reminisced about my experience watching this fall’s black-comedy horror film “Barbarian.” Hilarious, horrifying, and completely unpredictable, it is best enjoyed by those who are completely oblivious.  

With a quick decision, I tested my luck and chose “Barbarian,” directed by actor Zach Cregger, as the film for the night. I knew almost nothing else; its main attraction was the mystery of its plot. Despite forcing myself to take this unusual cinematic risk, “Barbarian” completely fulfilled its promise to blow my mind. 

 The film combines three layers of movie genres and possesses a small — yet impactful — main cast including Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, and Justin Long. The film thrives on a sense of creativity and suspense, continually keeping the audience on their toes. I witnessed unthinkable twists and turns that dramatically shift the film’s direction, all before the viewer can even verbalize their mental predictions. 

Resembling a golden child of horror classics, “Barbarian” uses every well-known film trope and expectation to keep its audience in a state of confusion and uncertainty. The eeriness is further enhanced with the film’s mysterious and claustrophobic setting. “Barbarian” refuses to deliver any sense of safety for viewers, who should expect the film’s unpredictable horrors at every turn.  

It further pushes viewers to keep their guard up with a lack of standard jump scares, instead choosing to show the humanity of each character with dry comedy and realistic personality development. Therefore, leaving these characters to the mercy of the horrors that live within the film’s long and dark hallways becomes even more heartbreaking.  

Within the exhilarating and frightening experience of “Barbarian,” Cregger also displays his personal taste, providing unpredictable storylines and presenting realistic social commentary through the characters. With these rebellious decisions, further complimented by the film’s hypnotic and unorthodox cinematography, “Barbarian” removes itself from the stereotypes of a typical horror film. 

 Instead, the motion picture proves that it deserves its rare universal praise by following the guidelines — or lack thereof — that lead to a beautifully unique film. Therefore, the film comes to seamlessly resemble a brilliant passion project rather than a common cookie-cutter product of modern-day Hollywood, warranting five crabs.  

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Nicholas Merlino

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