Barbarian ★★★★

I find myself, sadly, unmoved by a lot of horror movies these days, both desensitised to the scares and overly familiar with most of the tropes. So I am delighted to report that I had the BEST time watching Barbarian! There’s nothing suuuper new about any of it, really, but it’s quite far away from all of the tired horror rehashes that have haunted streaming services and festivals in recent years – you know, the ones that are always winking at the camera, homaging the director’s favourite 80s classics, and of course About Trauma. 

I feel as though a lot of thought has been put into Barbarian’s script – there are no clunky lines here and no audience pandering, and the film really takes its time developing its characters in ways that really pay off. The structure is kind of unusual, with some unexpected digressions, and there are a couple of jokes that made me absolutely guffaw – my favourite being a line said by Justin Long as he’s about to descend the stairs in search of the mystery woman in his house, a joke that is in extremely poor taste and therefore absolutely hilarious. And speaking of Long, I love his performance and his character is so spot-on it made me giddy with delight (I have known and worked with several guys like him and they are all exactly fucking like this lol). 

Barbarian is tense, surprising, engrossing, and even a bit scary for me at times. Just a really solid, carefully crafted, confidently executed genre piece with enough of its own personality to really set it apart. I wish there were more modern horror movies like it.

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