I went into Barbarian unwitting and uninformed, having seen not a glimpse of a trailer, nor even a poster. All I went in with was a few vague recommendations from a few people who’d earned a quarter-George Micheal’s-worth of faith. You may have missed this, perhaps because you’re cold on horror flicks, or you’re (very understandably) sour on HBO Max’s decidedly un-chill recent behavior.

Thing is, I don’t pay for HBO Max, making me exempt of all sins (including – perhaps especially – unrelated ones). So, onward to the meat: Barbarian likely improves with the less knowledge you have about it going in. This feels like a horror movie made for horror movie nerds; every time I assumed it would zig, it wouldn’t… zag, per se, but it would ask why I would be so audacious as to assume it would zig in the first place. It’s a rare horror flick that always seems to be a few steps ahead, weaving and bobbing like a boxer. It understands what you think it should do. It understands the mind of the horror viewer. It loves you, and it hates you.

And, fuck, I love it back. Beyond the bizarre steps it dances to keep you on your toes and at the edge of your seat, it features excellent acting, and direction that will always keep you thinking you know what’s going on.

Definitely check this one out.


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