Review: The Less You Know About ‘Barbarian, The More Youll Enjoy One Of The Years Best Horror Movies

In 2007, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez tapped up-and-coming genre filmmaker Edgar Wright to create a fake trailer for the double-feature documentary Grindhouse. Wright suggested, "Don't!", insisting in a stern voice. "If you're thinking about moving into this house, don't." If you're thinking of opening this door, don't. If you're planning to go to the basement, don't go." It was funny because it was so obvious and the audience wanted to scream at the screen. "Don't come in."

This is basically the plot of Jack Crager's The Barbarian, where the less the better. In fact, consider this permission to stop reading this review and buy tickets. Skip the trailers, read the reviews, head to the theaters to see one of the best horror movies of the year.

How to describe Savage without revealing the best twists? Well, this is the triumph of a new subgenre: Airbnb horror. It all begins on a dark and rainy night when a young woman named Tess (Georgina Campbell) tries to get into a safe Detroit rental house she's booked for a job interview the next day. A light shines within. There is another person at home.

In a plot that shows the perils of outsourcing real estate management to no-name tech companies, the house is double-booked and Keith (Bill Skarsgård) has already taken up residence. Despite her best instincts, like most modern, independent women, Tess is on high alert, she has no choice and decides to kick him out of the house while he takes care of everything on his own.

This is the first horror film from Krieger, who is a founding member of the comedy group Whitest Kids U'No, but clearly a fan and student of the genre, a masterful master of tone and scares, he's an exciting young horror director. get up She shows a knack for subverting expectations, so she gives us a horror hero who's smarter than the average scream queen, and a mysterious loner (who once played a famous horror monster) who's a good guy. .

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Throughout the film, the process of establishing and subverting expectations is repeated over and over again. Kreger slowly builds the chilling, thrilling sequences into poignant moments of operatic horror, then quickly moves into another chapter, taking a completely different left turn, taking us all to the mountains of Russia. His ease with comedy helps with those abrupt tonal shifts, and The Barbarian is as funny as it is scary.

Tess and Keith look back on the awkwardness of their Airbnb mess, but the film broadens its scope to include the house's other residents and owners over the decades. Crager traces the suburban home's journey through time, through white flight in middle-class neighborhoods and subsequent abandonment, ultimately returning it as a free short-term rental market. Rumors of what goes on in this house are known only to locals, highlighting the dangers of a decaying community plagued by exploitative capitalism and creating the perfect anonymous environment to lure unsuspecting, tech-savvy millennials into their homes.

Crager uses The Savages to explore women as victims, villains, and victors of the horror genre, and how they are endangered and empowered by empathy. The very caring Tess is the perfect victim, but she's also street smart, and her soft skills and ability to read others are her most effective abilities to fight any evil. Campbell's performance is perfectly calibrated, and Creger explains that Tess's emotional intelligence is what gives her a fighting edge.

Kreger weaves together this multi-layered contemporary social commentary as a chilling horror film inspired by classic horror films and tropes. With fresh ideas and plenty of scary skulls, it's that returning charm that makes this a thrilling new and must-see horror movie of the year.

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Kathy Walsh is a film critic for Tribune News Service


Rated: R for strong violence and profanity, disturbing material, strong language and nudity

Duration: 1h43

Playing: General release begins September 9

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