Walking into the dimly lit theater, my expectations for The Barbarian were not particularly high. The title, much like the disorienting trailer, left a very shallow and vague understanding of the movie. Bracing myself for another generic horror movie, knowing the  genre has not been delivering, I was prepared to endure a cliche heavy, basic, jump-scare fest. And I have no qualms admitting that I was pleasantly surprised. 

What I walked into was a plot that was simple and straight forward; a young woman (Georgina Campbell) reaches the Airbnb she booked, only to find a creepy guy (Bill Skarsgård) already living there. What ensues is a pleasant game of patience until the villain is truly revealed. The manner in which the story unfolds is not only unexpected but surprisingly grounded. 

By the time Justin Long’s character is introduced, the story is set and the world of the barbarian has been cemented. As it begins to expand and make more (or less) sense, the characters do something that is rarely happens in horror films: they make realistic human decisions. A great example of this is when Long’s character throws himself into the fray and finds himself at this same Airbnb. He is the actual owner of the property but has been obviously detached and finds a very obviously creepy extra space and his first instinct is to measure it to properly list it online for renting. 

Horror has fallen a long way from its glory days but has found itself in an interesting kind of renaissance with the revisioning of “The Twilight Zone”, films like “Get Out” and now “Barbarian”. This is a movie that takes a lot of inspiration from the movies of yesteryear and does plenty to take those tropes and turn them on their heads. A solid three out of five popcorn boxes.