While I was writing a few different lists of horror movies on various streaming services that you might want to watch for Halloween here, I would be remiss if I did not recommend what is by far the most horror movie craziest and weirdest I’ve seen this year, which timed its release to coincide pretty well with Halloween today.
That would be Barbarian, which made quite the buzz when it was in theaters, but it just hit HBO Max where you can watch with a subscription there. The film stars Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard and Justin Long, and is by far the most unexpected horror entry I can remember seeing in recent years, something that will stick with me for a long time. for different reasons.
I won’t go into spoilers here, only to say that nothing is quite as it seems. The premise is that a young woman rents an AirBnB in a desolate suburb of Detroit, and when she arrives she finds that a man is already staying there, claiming the place has been double-booked.
The man is Bill Skarsgard, who played the central clown in It and a demonic force in Castle Rock, so even though he acts nice, you think you can tell where this is going.
You can not. You can’t tell where this leads, I promise.
It takes a lot to surprise and shock me in horror movies these days, but Barbarian sets up its twists in a way you’ll never see coming, and by the end you’ll realize you’ve been watching an entirely different movie than you thought you were going to make, and I expect parts of it will haunt your dreams. It’s not exactly a scary horror movie, but it’s shocking, unsettling, and memorable, and an easy recommendation for any horror fan. Maybe less for Nope-Horror fans, as it might be a bit too much for more traditional crowds, but hey, take a risk.
It sounds like it’s going to be an escape vehicle from writer/director Zach Cregger, who’s been around for a while, but mostly does shorts and TV, and never anything like that. I can’t wait to see what he does next, because in addition to his writing and directing here, it’s the foundry that makes this film what it is. I’ve mentioned Skarsgard before, but Justin Long is perfect here in ways I can’t even begin to describe, and some of his scenes are some of my favorites in any movie I’ve seen this year.
So yeah, the less you know the better, and I feel like I haven’t said enough here to get you started. So go check it out and tell me what you think.
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