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‘Barbarian,’ Starring Justin Long and Bill Skarsgård, Will Scare You Off Airbnb Forever


Anytime you think you’ve got Barbarian find out, you would be wise to think again. There’s a trap door you haven’t noticed yet, and it opens up an uncharted corridor rife with untold possibilities of perversion. (And possibly a dungeon.)

On the surface, Whitest Kids U’Know Alum Zach Cregger’s horror directorial debut is a terrifyingly light modern fable: British actress Georgina Campbell (Black mirror) plays Tess, a young woman who shows up on her Airbnb one rainy night only to find out it’s double booked and the other guest happens to be Bill Skarsgård. Trapped with a stranger in a single unspoiled home on a dilapidated Detroit block, Tess prepares for a job interview even as things go from weird to downright terrifying. When it comes to the real danger that awaits Tess, the call might actually come… you know.

About halfway through the movie, however, we have an abrupt cut that introduces the show’s new star: Justin Longdelivers one of his best (and most hated) performances in years.

While the first act of Barbarian leaning towards a Hitchcockian sense of anticipation, its reward is pure pulp — a B-horror twist that puts the film in the same category as James Wan’s. Malignant. (Thanks to the underground horror element and the Detroit setting, compared to 2016 Don’t breathe nothing would be unfair.) In doing so, the film propelled itself from a competent but not-so-good chamber thriller into something truly memorable. However, for some people, the final landing can feel a bit shaky.

First, however, there’s Tess – an intelligent woman whose actions, like so many horror characters, often defy common sense. On the other hand, when she first shows up at the house and finds out that a gentleman named Keith (Skarsgård) has checked in, she remembers to check his confirmation email before getting too cozy. Minutes later, she told him that everywhere else in town was booked through a conference—no follow-up questions, not even a quick look at Expedia if there was a hotel cancellation. Local Marriott. (Come on, Tess, you’re better than that!)

Tess’s actual level of intelligence may not have been consistent, but Cregger managed to create a quiet, unconcealable tension around her makeshift housemate. Skarsgård knows exactly how to shape his face to accentuate those chiselled lines and effect bulging eyes — and it doesn’t hurt that he’s probably still best known for playing the haunting Pennywise. photos in Andy Muschietti’s It film. So every time Keith tries to put Tess’s mind at ease, the anxiety grows a little more – a deliberate drumming as we continue to wonder if it was all an act. . If so, when will the other shoe fall off?

Of the course Tess eventually decided to explore the rental basement, and when she did, that’s when things really started to get weird. It is also at this point that Long’s character accelerates into the proceedings (literally, via a sports car) in a tour de force conspicuous comedy, against the genre.

Long’s reputation may scream “lovely weirdo” – those of us of a certain age can almost certainly recall his “Apple Boy” period – but in Barbarian he plays a real brute, a perfect Hollywood bastard named AJ who is in the middle of being “cancelled”. It turned out that the consequences of AJ’s actions would cost dearly, so he booked a flight to Detroit, where he hoped to sell off a rental property – shortly after he made some measurement.

A rich, powerful asshole makes a torture victim much more enjoyable than a well-meaning job seeker, which may explain why Long’s performance is also compelling. Barbarianof tonal change. The suspense gives way to a labyrinthine house of horror (literally and figuratively), and all the pretense of restraint spills out the windows.

How fitting then, Long’s performance felt like a perfect fit Barbarianof courage. The only moments the film encounters when it seems to guess for a second time. At times, Cregger’s script can reach a meaning that isn’t there — or to work towards it with somewhat lazy statements. (Example: At one point, Tess’s only savior happened to be the homeless man she called the cop the days before; minutes after he saved her, the man that died brutally from a cheap jump.)

But these moments are few and far between. In spite of Barbarian largely combine ideas we’ve seen before — even Horror movies on airbnb not new at this point — it does so with humor and amusement. (And also one of cinema’s most unsettling scenes involves a baby bottle.) Campbell grumbled through his role with palpable tenacity, Skarsgård operating the tune from quietly creepy to outright terrifying, and Long is moving on to some of his best work. All so well, I’ll even look past the unforgivable (but completely inevitable) needle drop at the end.



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