A surprise hit internationally, Barbarian has come out of nowhere to become a modern cult favourite. Set in Detroit, Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch) plays Tess, a woman in town for a job interview who has booked herself a rundown Airbnbstyle property.
Upon arrival, she finds Keith (Bill Skarsgård) is already there, a double booking from another app. With a storm coming and few options, Tess chooses to stay with this mysterious stranger, who turns out to be the least of her worries after she makes a discovery in the basement.
It’s difficult to discuss Barbarian in too much detail as its appeal lies in subverting your expectations; every horror movie convention is soon torn up and thrown away by director
As with many of the best horror films, the premise prods at real life societal problems – in this case, the everyday safety concerns facing women. The parallels becoming less subtle as the film goes on, and while most of the plot holds together the final act goes a little over the top on
the allegory front.
Barbarian overstretches, trying to wrongfoot you every step of the way. However, Cregger’s invention and timely themes make it a shocking breakthrough hit for a promising new name in horror.
Barbican is on general release in selected cinemas now