Georgina Campbell Stars In This Curvy Horror On Hell’s Airbnb (Real)
Giving a whole new meaning to the idea of an Airbnb from hell, Barbaric is a smartly plotted horror flick that delivers solid, gory scares.
Writer-director Zach Cregger’s opening gambit is strong: A young woman, Tess (Georgina Campbell), arrives at a run-down Detroit rental to find it’s been double-booked, with one occupant already inside. (Bill Skarsgard).
They have an awkward evening with few incidents, but when a secret basement door leads to a positively labyrinthine subterranean lair for someone – or something – vile, the movie pulls the rug out from under you just when the horror stakes are starting to escalate.
Tess slips through a pitch-black tunnel, her voice barely rising above a frightened croak, to discover a filthy mattress in a hidden room. When the violence begins, the screen fades to black.
Just as the first scares set in, the setting – and the characters – change completely, picking up a story thread that eventually sees an oily, hateful Hollywood guy (Justin Long) arrive at his Detroit home and unwittingly join the heartbreaking pleasure. .
This happens a third time with a weaker effect, returning to another segment telling us the story of this horrible house and attempting to link the horror story to misogynistic abuse. But the results seem too scattered, tenuously tying those horror elements together with a contemporary #MeToo subplot where the central villain turns out to be a monster created entirely by abusive and traumatic experiences at the hands of men. Jumping between these story threads, there’s never enough time to dig deeper into the true power dynamics of the characters.
Barbaric is far from a classic – the moment it reveals the all-too-human monstrosity at its heart, it feels by heart, and the scares disappear in exchange for almost amusing violence.
At its best, it’s inventive and unpredictable, with an edgy visual style that takes note of the evil lurking beneath the banality of its domestic space.
But Cregger doesn’t quite hit his mark. However, Barbaric packs enough visceral punch to make for a fun Halloween weekend at the movies – and it goes where you don’t expect it to, especially in that creepy basement.