REVIEW: Barbarian is one of the best scary movies of the last few years
Don't watch the trailer. Don't read the synopsis. Go in knowing as little as possible and prepare to be SHOCKED...
How delightful it is that, in this day and age, with details and information about literally EVERYTHING at our fingertips, that some things can still shock and surprise.
It usually takes a little bit of activity on our own behalf, be it either choosing not to click on a link, or muting certain words on social media, or really whatever it takes to not have your daily life inundated with spoilers.
And then there are the things that just kind remain under the radar of mass media, manage to keep a naturally in-built low-key, but spread like a virus through word-of-mouth.
These examples are more and more rare as the years go by, but that is exactly how this reviewer first heard of this scary movie: "Hey, have you heard about Barbarian?"
So in that fashion, I recommend you don't watch the trailer below (which actually does a tremendous job of keeping spoilers to a minimum), don't read any in-depth, spoiler-filled reviews, and just go in blind with this bit of knowledge: Barbarian is without doubt one of the best scary movies of the last few years.
Still here? Okay, but we promise to still keep spoiler'y details to a minimum.
The story kicks off with Tess (Georgina Campbell, phenomenally good) arriving at her Airbnb rental, only to discover there is already another lodger there, Keith (Bill Skarsgard, also nailing the tone).
While he seems to be treating this as the opening scene to a meet-cute rom-com, Tess is understandably more cagey about the situation. But since it is lashing rain outside and the house is in the middle of a dodgy part of Detroit, she agrees to take the bed, while he will sleep on the couch for the night, and they can sort out the accidental double-booking in the morning.
Some creaky sounds in the middle of the night set off a chain of events that... we won't go any further than that, because we truly recommend you watch this in on the big screen, with a big audience, as you all share this shape-shifting rollercoaster together.
Every time you think you've got a handle on what to expect from the plot, it completely pulls the rug out from under you. Every time you think you've nailed down what kind of horror this, nope, it violently veers off in another direction, and all you can do is breathlessly hang on for the ride.
Writer and director Zach Cregger is so confident in his storytelling, you can't help but be impressed. He knows exactly where to place the camera to have your eyes darting for any potential incoming scares, he knows exactly when to start or end music cues, drop in the perfect little bit of sound design. He effortlessly jumps tracks from darkly comedic to "OH HOLY SHITTING HELL!", hands-over-your-mouth horror.
Yeah, some of the later subtext of the movie feels a bit heavy-handed, but by then we're completely won over. By then, you're already thinking of which friends in your life you can't wait to ask, "Hey, have you heard about Barbarian?"
Barbarian arrives in Irish cinemas on Friday, 28 October.