Barbarian has been the talk of online after a clip featuring Bill Skarsgard hit the internet (and he might not as the villain this time). The horror film comes from the mind of The White Kids U Know alum Zach Cregger, who wrote and directed the upcoming film. The film marks Cregger’s horror debut after directing the comedy Miss March. Of course, critics have screened Barbarian ahead of its September 9 release, and the reviews are now in.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’s Georgina Campbell stars Tess Campbell, a young woman who finds a strange man (played by Bill Skarsgard) already in the Airbnb she’s renting. Soon, Tess regrets her decision to stay as the house is filled with more unexpected twists than an unannounced house guest.

What did critics have to say about the horror-comedy thriller? Let’s kick things off with CinemaBlend’s review of Barbarian. CinemaBlend’s own Sarah El-Mahmoud gave the film a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5, saying the film offers a wild ride filled with twists and turns as Zach Cregger tries with mixed results to balance fear and comedy throughout the horror film. She states:

There are definitely some ridiculous elements of Barbarian that don’t allow the movie to walk the horror/comedy line with ease. However, it’s the kind of film you want to experience with people, which will create its own experience.

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter felt it was hard to talk about Barbarian as “it relies so heavily on unexpected plot twists that defy your expectations.” That didn’t deter him from heaping praise on the horror comedy while pointing out some formulaic moments with the film’s surprising plot twists:

Director-screenwriter Cregger displays an obvious perverse glee in guiding his audiences through his outlandish twists and turns. If the ultimate revelations involving a truly terrifying character (Matthew Patrick Davis, in a virtuoso turn) tend toward the formulaic, they don’t detract from the overall effect

Collider’s Chase Hutchinson gave the horror film a B- rating as he felt the blend of ridiculousness and fright pushed the viewer’s suspension of belief to “a breaking point.” The comedic moments ultimately “deflate much of the tension” upon reaching the unexpected twists:

By design, it is an experience built around surprise revelations and plunging into the unknown. What is found there is not nearly as impactful as the actual journey itself, making for a mixed bag of horror and humor that rises above its lesser parts enough to hold together.

Benjamin Lee of The Guardian was less than impressed with the horror flick, giving it a rating of 2 out of 5 stars. He felt the twists and turns of the film didn’t pay off as it leans too much into the comedy and away from the suspense and pseudo-commentary. In his words:

The reveal of what lies down below is less surprising than the structure Cregger then chooses to deploy as we are taken to different periods, locations and viewpoints (there is more Justin Long than one would expect), interestingly bold until one realises such diversion is merely that, a way of distracting us from what is essentially a pretty ineffective monster movie. It’s competently made (Cregger could perhaps work better with a script he hasn’t written) but curiously flat, and in recalling films from Don’t Breathe to The People Under the Stairs, only serves to remind us how devoid this is in comparison.

If you want to see how the unexpected twists and turns play out, you’ll be able to check out Barbarian when it arrives in movie theaters on Friday, September 9. Until the horror comedy hits the cinema, you can watch Justin Long talk about the upcoming film. You can also take a glance at our 2022 movie schedule to see what other horror films are arriving this year.

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