‘Barbarian' Is Surprising, and One of the Best Movies of the Year

Ulises Duenas


It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie as unique as Barbarian in a movie theater. It’s a blend of horror, suspense, and comedy, which makes the most out of its relatively small cast and budget. Director and writer Zach Creggar has created a surprising film that is absolutely worth checking out.



The film begins with a young woman named Tess arriving at her Airbnb to find out that it’s already occupied by a man named Keith. She ends up agreeing, begrudgingly,  to stay in the house for the night and starts to hear strange noises. In the morning she discovers that the rest of the neighborhood is completely run down except for the house she’s staying in. The movie does a good job of building tension while keeping the viewer wondering in which direction things are going.



There’s a hard shift in tone and plot development halfway through the movie that is bound to have the audience scratching their heads, but it ends up working really well. Justin Long’s character, AJ, is introduced and he delivers what is arguably his best performance ever. AJ’s self-absorbed, idiotic, and despicable nature makes for a fun sequence in the middle of the movie as the ball starts rolling again for the third act. This movie is surprisingly funny and it does a great job of balancing the laughs and the horror.


One thing that still surprises me is that Creggar -- who is best known for his work on the sketch comedy show The Whitest Kids U’ Know – made this film. His other movies didn’t get nearly as much attention as this as he has surprisingly great horror chops for someone who mostly wrote comedies up until now.



The early parts of the movie -- where Tess and Keith are talking -- reminded me of their sketches where a lull is created early on, just to have something absurd happen to juxtapose it. Creggar’s unique direction and writing style are what really separate this film from other modern horror movies.


In the end, Barbarian doesn’t try to do anything crazy the way a lot of thrillers and horror movies do. It’s a movie with a good script, great directing, and great acting that does something unique for a wide-release film. It’s one of the best movies of the year, so anyone even remotely interested in horror or suspense should see this.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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