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"Barbarian" (2022): Scariest Horror Movie of the Year

Elijah is an Amazon best-selling author, blogger, previous columnist for an award-winning blog, past creative editor, socialite & traveler.

"Barbarian" (2022)

"Barbarian" (2022)

Plot

Spoilers Ahead!

This movie had a ton of horror movie tropes: a girl decides against her judgment to share a home with some guy she just met who isn't supposed to be there, venturing into a black tunnel, doors locking, etc., but none of them actually played out. They were more so just there as taunts and possibilities.

Tess comes to the city for a job interview during the week that a medical convention is active. With no hotel vacancies, Tess is forced to get an Airbnb in the slums of town which are known for it’s bad reputation and crime.

Act 1: Tess and Keith in Dreary Detroit

However, upon arriving, she discovers that her Airbnb is being rented out by a young man named Keith. Her first error was accepting his invite in (YIKES!), but the plot doesn’t go in the direction of creepy predator and instead goes much darker.

After a series of strange events during the night, Tess wakes up to find her new friend, Keith has left for the day. When getting toilet paper downstairs she accidentally manages to lock herself in the basement where she discovers a secret room behind a wall containing a dark secret; a make-shift prison with a camera on a tripod and a dirty mattress.

Keith comes to the rescue but decides to check it out. He finds an additional hallway with many cages but disappears into the dark. When Tess goes to look for him he emerges from the shadows telling her that, “something bit him,” and they had to leave. Before leaving, a nude, old, inbred woman runs out of the dark screaming and swiftly kills Keith in a brutal manner.

Act 2: AJ in California, Then Detroit

The scene cuts out and fast forward to two weeks later when a big shot named AJ gets fired for sexual harassment and has to liquidate his assets in order to save his finances. One of his properties happens to be the sketchy Airbnb where Tess and Keith were never heard from nor checked out.

Naturally, he goes to check it out and he too finds the dark hallway and, eventually, the naked inbred woman. She locks him in a dungeon like hole where Tess has been kept for two weeks. She explains that the woman just wants them to be her babies and that’s why she tries feeding them with a bottle.

AJ rejects her offer and she drags him to a dirty room where a VHS tape plays a breast feeding instructional video on a loop and forcefully breastfeeds him. It becomes clear through a flashback that the dungeon was used by an abductor who commit unspeakable sexual crimes which led to inbreeding. This woman was a product of that.

Act 3: Twist on Final Girl Trope

At the end of the hallway, AJ finds that the abductor is still alive, bed-bound and elderly. Seeing that he has been discovered, the old man shoots himself in front of a horrified AJ who takes the gun and accidentally shoots Tess. He drags her to “safety”, and after a short chase and Tess hitting the woman with her car, they believe they’re in the clear.

A homeless man helps them get to safety but the inbred woman comes busting through, killing the man. There’s an intense chase up a disheveled tower where, in an act of selfishness, AJ pushes Tess off the building so that the woman would jump after her ”baby” to protect her from the fall.

AJ races to the bottom of the tower but finds that the fall didn’t kill either of them; only injuring. The inbred woman springs to her feet and gauges AJ’s eyes out which kills him… he deserved it. Tess then shoots her “mother” and stumbles off for help.

Characters

Keith: Poor, lovable Keith... he was awkward and a little goofy and you couldn't help but like him. He dies so soon that you don't really get to see his character development.

Tess: Sweet, trusting, naïve, and cautious young woman who displays persistence in a very graceful and feminine way. Sort of.

AJ: Sexual predator with a big ego who got every single thing he deserved. Enough said.

My Review

This movie was weird, disturbing, shocking, and induced crippling anxiety and paranoia. There weren't any horror movie clichés, the characters were interesting and the plot was well done. If I had to give it a percentage rating (because Hubpages only lets me do solid star ratings), I'd give it a 90%.

My Rating

© 2022 Elijah DeVivo