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MOVIES: Barbarian - Review

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When Georgina Campbell's Tess turns up at a random Air BNB in a dodgy neighbourhood during the night, it quickly becomes apparent that something is wrong - Bill Skarsgård's Keith has booked the place on the same day. Tess makes the mistake of trusting a Bill Skarsgård character in a horror movie - clearly, It and Castle Rock both don't exist in this universe - and decides to stay the night after a chat. But when she returns after her job interview, she realises how run down the area really is - and how there's more than just one horror awaiting for her.

This film is wickedly smart and self-aware, utilising the "why don't you just go to the cops?" trope that people would use to poke logic in horror movies from the start; and has a flimsy but effective excuse for the "why don't you just leave?" trope - the convolution and escalation required to get every character to the house, including Justin Long's AJ, a movie star just accused of harassment in a Hollywood Reporter lawsuit - and owner of the apartment that they live in - happens maybe a bit too suddenly and the pieces come together a bit too neatly when a third timeline is introduced, but what's effective is very, very effective - it's super tight, the scares are Resident Evil-esque and the claustrophobic tight-nit atmosphere would have been a perfect atmosphere experience but for the 4 teens at the front of the screen talking loudly and using their phones for the whole film. But to Barbarian's credit that didn't kill the movie for me - it's that good of a picture.

Zach Cregger's movie gets the most out of an escalating awkward situation and manages to find a way to keep the horror loosely real - this would make a killer double feature with The Black Phone. the awkward encounters, glances between Skarsgård and Campbell keeps the tension on a knife edge and the film uses its reputation of you knowing how creepy Skarsgård can be against you - he makes the most out of his moments in the film. Georgina Campbell is a fantastic lead too - put through the wire and you buy her disbelief at the situation that she's faced in, the realisation and then the acceptance. It's horrifying.

The kills are creative, gory and violent and the blood splatters are off-the-charts. It's the closest thing to a Malignant movies have come since well, Malignant - gonzo filmmaking at its most stripped down, sadistic. Sure to hold up on repeat viewings too.

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