NUNN'S THEATER HABIT
Barbarian breaks into theaters everywhere
Thu. September 8, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Director Zach Cregger attempts to make a horror tale for modern audiences with retro scenes in Barbarian and succeeds on many levels.
Tess Marshall, played by Georgina Campbell, reserves a place to stay for the night in Detroit before a job interview and arrives to find a man named Keith, portrayed by Bill Skarsgard, already inside. This makes for an awkward beginning and the two actors react realistically along the way. The audience can easily relate to something similar happening to them and Campbell makes smart decisions that will carry viewers along during her journey into discovery.
Barbarian jumps around the story at times, transporting cinema-goers to depict past historic points and then over to more victims to keep the plot moving. It gives people watching a chance to breathe after some very well-lined-up pop-out scares and a chance to reset their nerves. There is one scene where a monster disappears into the shadows that is just mesmerizing to witness on the big screen.
The creative team does an excellent job of explaining why someone would turn into a monster in the first place and delves deeper into the psyche of a savage.
Justin Long can do no wrong. It is not his fault that he's miscast as the character AJ Gillbride. The actor's history with scary movies runs deep with Jeepers Creepers, Tusk and Drag Me to Hell. He knows how to be funny and likable while picking characters that are memorable.
Here he brings some much-needed levity to Barbarian but the requirement for him to embody Gillbride is simply too big a stretch. This makes some of the believability of what happens toward the end out of character and unrealistic. The shock factor that eventually happens works and Barbarian stands to do well for the month of Halloween. There is some stiff competition coming up, but the horror genre has come a long way in terms of representation and believability from the cinema of the past.
Audiences now look for something they can relate to and want to see themselves up on the screen. The cast and crew in the case know what they are doing and take fright fans on an unpredictable ride until the very end.
Barbarian busts into theaters everywhere on September 9, 2022.