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Barbarian (2022)

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ᱬWanda Maximoff-Scarlet WitchᱬElizabeth Olesnᱬ
no i havent but my support worker saw it other day
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https://youtu.be/M-7QBR6hugc Wanda Maximoff-Scarlet Witch -Elizabeth Olsen
https://youtu.be/78oLEoy5Npo Natasha Romanoff-Black Widow-Scarlett Johansson
https://youtu.be/0LXhnd-CMrQ Agatha Harkness-Kathryn Hahn
https://youtu.be/4E880wNeB2g Yelena Belova-
Florence Pugh
https://youtu.be/V8BhIsWTGUI Clint Barton-Hawkeye-Jeremy Renner
https://youtu.be/Zy66zOMkGsM Loki Lufeyson-Tom Hiddleston



Saw it a week ago. Really impressed. First half is basically perfect.

Not sure it entirely sticks all the landings, a little muddled maybe in what it wants to say after that (I've heard counterarguments to the contrary but I don't find them compelling/give it way too much credit), but that's a nitpick for a horror film, I think. It is initially creepy, restrained, and the mystery really draws you in. Wish films like that came along more often.



A system of cells interlinked
Yes, this was pretty excellent. I wouldn't quite give it a perfect rating, even grading on the usual horror curve, but it is easily the best horror flick of the year I have seen.
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Saw it a week ago. Really impressed. First half is basically perfect.

Not sure it entirely sticks all the landings, a little muddled maybe in what it wants to say after that (I've heard counterarguments to the contrary but I don't find them compelling/give it way too much credit), but that's a nitpick for a horror film, I think. It is initially creepy, restrained, and the mystery really draws you in. Wish films like that came along more often.
Pretty much sums up my own response!



I thought Barbarian did a good job of building suspense and getting to know the characters before things start to happen. The film goes in some interesting and unexpected directions along the way. Score was very effective in helping set the mood. I liked the performances, although there were times when the characters' actions didn't seem believable enough and felt like they went against what the character should have done. Overall, this was an entertaining and memorable horror film.



Saw it in the theater and had a blast.

I thought it was a great mix of some really strong character work and straight up scary stuff. I agree that at times characters didn't do "the right thing" (aka the thing that would seem to make the most sense), but overall the film kept me guessing about what people would do or who they'd turn out to be in a good way.

I loved Georgina Campbell's lead performance.



A system of cells interlinked
there were times when the characters' actions didn't seem believable enough and felt like they went against what the character should have done.
This is why I knocked a box of popcorn off. The main character was shrewd and alert, and seemed to be extra careful about her safety, then starts doing things that flew in the face of that setup. I guess it's tough for horror flicks to get around stuff like this.



This is why I knocked a box of popcorn off. The main character was shrewd and alert, and seemed to be extra careful about her safety, then starts doing things that flew in the face of that setup. I guess it's tough for horror flicks to get around stuff like this.
At one point I was like,
WARNING: spoilers below
"How many lockable doors is this woman going to go through?!?!?!" When she went through that thing that was clearly a retractable metal gate I just had to laugh."

Though to be entirely fair, I once wandered WAY too deep into some woods (and off of the path!) by myself because something caught my eye. So . . .



At one point I was like,
WARNING: spoilers below
"How many lockable doors is this woman going to go through?!?!?!" When she went through that thing that was clearly a retractable metal gate I just had to laugh."

Though to be entirely fair, I once wandered WAY too deep into some woods (and off of the path!) by myself because something caught my eye. So . . .
I did notice that one (so it did throw me out of the film a little), and I guess, yeah, it’s not the most believable behaviour, though I’m not
WARNING: spoilers below
in the least claustrophobic - for those who know about my (ex) health condition, I’m very accustomed to lack of air/ mild suffocation, so I don’t seem to perceive claustrophobic moments the same as most people (my mother is awfully claustrophobic). Tess going down there was sure weird but didn’t bother me as much as it could have done. It doesn’t immediately make sense that the door locks itself from the inside (unless you know it’s a prison, which, yeah), and after that, she tries to look around to get out and stops quite quickly.

For what that’s worth, even Keith going down there to check out “the bed and the bucket” didn’t bother me that much (I think I could well have exhibited that level of sarcastic disbelief at that point). For all the Cabin in the Woods rationale that you don’t go to basements etc, I know quite a lot of men who would do that in that situation out of a kind of natural scepticism (as in, “Really?”), and then he seems to be the type of young guy to who it’s kind of “cool and creepy” to find a tunnel in the basement. More believable than most set-ups, actually.

I think the idea is that she tries to position herself (not least to herself) as “tough”. That is largely justified by the fact she does figure out how to survive. In that sense, I was more bothered by her repeatedly going deeper in or back to save the men. Obviously a semi-ironic “turning a trope on its head” thing, but that’s the one I found to be stretching credulity. The only context in which that would work to me is if she was proving to herself her toughness/that she was a moral creature going back to help others, something like that, like a self-test, rather than an actual decision in the moment. It jars with her having had reasonably good survival instincts until then.

I guess I could just about buy that she liked Keith and trying to find/save him was more of a decision based on proximity/the fact he’d previously saved her, but with AJ, given that he is (to most people) unlikeable and hadn’t until then done anything whatsoever to help her (indeed disregarding her “survival” instructions and putting them both in danger), I didn’t quite buy that she would make quite so much effort to go back in herself rather than sending help (naturally, that’s predicated on “help” not taking Tess seriously), but still, to me her insistence on going back in person almost read like she’s being sold as saintly or perceiving herself as such.

All of which adds up to a not-so-subtle message that men (whether the Me Too kind like AJ or the “nice guys” like Keith) perish while Tess survives almost through her saintliness, as Mother arguably sees “humanity”/empathy/morals in her (that’s one of the interpretations I’ve read, and it does make sense, but seems a bit too preachy). I think there’s something to be said for rational egoism eventually being a bit more celebrated in horror films, e.g. not going back to a lair for random unlikeable men (or women) you barely know. The film kind of toys with that when Tess says “nope”, but we barely have any films where full-on, unapologetic egoism is portrayed as an option that doesn’t lead to death.




I didn't read the
WARNING: spoilers below
deaths of the men as being a message about men perishing and Tess surviving because she is morally good.

With Keith, he is a really nice guy! But literally up until he dies, I think we are meant to suspect that he might be in on whatever is happening. In fact, I initially thought that when he went down to the basement it was because he was luring her back down there because she wanted to leave.

He was cute and nice and he shared her interests, and in many ways he seemed like he could be a trap. So him dying, to me, was just a shocking moment because not only is he not in on whatever is happening, he is a victim of it. The space between "Is Keith trapping her?" and "Oh, snap! Did Keith just die?" is like 2 seconds of runtime.

I also didn't mind Tess helping AJ, because she doesn't know he's a bad person. He's clearly terrified, and I think she just doesn't hold anything against him because how can you judge someone who has just been thrown in a pit and force-fed, LOL.

I do think that Tess survives in part because she is selfless and empathetic, and I didn't mind that. I thought that AJ was a great parody of people who claim to regret harming others, but seemingly can't help themselves when push comes to shove (PUN INTENDED!).

I also think that AJ works as like a mirror version of Keith. At first we are given to believe that he is being falsely accused. His disbelief and anger feel very real, as do his denials. The scene with the accountant is vicariously stressful! But then as things go on we start to realize that he's actually not a good person, and it's all tied to his selfishness and lack of empathy.


I think that, fundamentally, all of the actors are just amazing in their roles. So even if some of them are meant to enhance certain themes, they still feel well realized.



I'm surprised to hear the complaints about...

WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
...Tess behaving in stupid or irrational ways. This was one of the things about the movie I really liked! There's a strong implication she's going to do that, as the basement door drifts close, but she stops it, which I took as a meta nod towards those kinds of lazy horror tropes.

She does venture back into the basement, but she does it for a very good reason: he's calling for help! I was actually able to predict most of what happened at this point in the movie, simply because it was the only thing that could happen that would lead her back down there, and in turn allow us to discover the next layer of the mystery. I kept thinking/saying that he'd have to do X and then Y to put her in the most agonizing position possible.

I think it'd be reasonable to complain that she gave up way too easy on the cops/authorities after getting that first brush off (which I didn't really find believable, either), though.



I'm surprised to hear the complaints about...

WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
...Tess behaving in stupid or irrational ways. This was one of the things about the movie I really liked! There's a strong implication she's going to do that, as the basement door drifts close, but she stops it, which I took as a meta nod towards those kinds of lazy horror tropes.

She does venture back into the basement, but she does it for a very good reason: he's calling for help! I was actually able to predict most of what happened at this point in the movie, simply because it was the only thing that could happen that would lead her back down there, and in turn allow us to discover the next layer of the mystery. I kept thinking/saying that he'd have to do X and then Y to put her in the most agonizing position possible.

I think it'd be reasonable to complain that she gave up way too easy on the cops/authorities after getting that first brush off (which I didn't really find believable, either), though.
Agreed!



I'm surprised to hear the complaints about...

WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
...Tess behaving in stupid or irrational ways. This was one of the things about the movie I really liked! There's a strong implication she's going to do that, as the basement door drifts close, but she stops it, which I took as a meta nod towards those kinds of lazy horror tropes.

She does venture back into the basement, but she does it for a very good reason: he's calling for help! I was actually able to predict most of what happened at this point in the movie, simply because it was the only thing that could happen that would lead her back down there, and in turn allow us to discover the next layer of the mystery. I kept thinking/saying that he'd have to do X and then Y to put her in the most agonizing position possible.

I think it'd be reasonable to complain that she gave up way too easy on the cops/authorities after getting that first brush off (which I didn't really find believable, either), though.
For me it's more the fact that she doesn't
WARNING: spoilers below
call 911 before going down in the basement. She is clearly really freaked out, and so the idea that she'd go down in this basement with a man she maybe still doesn't totally trust was hard to watch.

It was when she went down the rock stairs that I had issues. I know he's yelling for help, but if she falls or whatever, they are both screwed.

Even dialing 911 on the cell phone and then leaving the phone on a counter while she went to explore would have been better.

Like, it's not TERRIBLE horror movie character behavior. And I appreciated the propping of the door and the mirror trick to not have to walk into the passageway.

For me it's just on the side of believable. I think that problem is that, as a viewer, you know how bad an idea it is to go deep in that house, so it magnifies it not being a wise choice. Even though, like I wrote earlier, I have been guilty of similar behavior myself.



Saw at the theatre months ago. Enjoyed it. Laughed at many of the scenes including the breastfeeding scene. Poor Justin Long.
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Welcome to the human race...
I'm surprised to hear the complaints about...

WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
...Tess behaving in stupid or irrational ways. This was one of the things about the movie I really liked! There's a strong implication she's going to do that, as the basement door drifts close, but she stops it, which I took as a meta nod towards those kinds of lazy horror tropes.

She does venture back into the basement, but she does it for a very good reason: he's calling for help! I was actually able to predict most of what happened at this point in the movie, simply because it was the only thing that could happen that would lead her back down there, and in turn allow us to discover the next layer of the mystery. I kept thinking/saying that he'd have to do X and then Y to put her in the most agonizing position possible.

I think it'd be reasonable to complain that she gave up way too easy on the cops/authorities after getting that first brush off (which I didn't really find believable, either), though.
WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
I'll grant that maybe she should have tried alerting the authorities much sooner, but I'm not at all surprised that she gives up on them once they actually show up and prove to be all kinds of ineffectual - what exactly is she going to do, call them again and be written off as a crank caller? The film does make it clear that, from the cops' point of view, she's a woman in dirty clothes who's broken a window on a house that doesn't belong to her and thus is obviously suspicious, plus they ditch her for the more immediate action of a "shots fired" call anyway. The Dead Meat podcast did make a good observation that both the cops are male and that maybe a female officer would've noted that Tess is still wearing her upscale job interview clothes and realised that something really has gone wrong, which would only lend credence to the film's established ideas about how men perceive signs of danger differently to women (to say nothing of how cops might see things differently than civilians).
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WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
I'll grant that maybe she should have tried alerting the authorities much sooner, but I'm not at all surprised that she gives up on them once they actually show up and prove to be all kinds of ineffectual - what exactly is she going to do, call them again and be written off as a crank caller? The film does make it clear that, from the cops' point of view, she's a woman in dirty clothes who's broken a window on a house that doesn't belong to her and thus is obviously suspicious, plus they ditch her for the more immediate action of a "shots fired" call anyway. The Dead Meat podcast did make a good observation that both the cops are male and that maybe a female officer would've noted that Tess is still wearing her upscale job interview clothes and realised that something really has gone wrong, which would only lend credence to the film's established ideas about how men perceive signs of danger differently to women (to say nothing of how cops might see things differently than civilians).
WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
Yes, that's exactly what she does, or tries doing, knowing how fraught the alternatives are. It's what 95% of us would do, too, man or woman.

Obviously there are superficial reasons for her to think it won't work a second time, because the movie's not crappy enough to just totally handwave it away. It puts in a modicum of effort to make it kinda believable, but it falls pretty well short of the kind of out-of-its-way thoughtfulness I mentioned earlier. It's thematically consistent, but not realistic, and subsuming theme to realism or even internal consistency in moments like that is just a misstep.

Doubly so when the theme being reinforced has already been made, at that point in the film, abundantly clear. Little is really added to it by heaping another example onto the pile, and the only reason it's there is so people don't yell at the movie about why she never tried going to the authorities. It seems like a preemptive half-measure.



Welcome to the human race...
WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
Yes, that's exactly what she does, or tries doing, knowing how fraught the alternatives are. It's what 95% of us would do, too, man or woman.

Obviously there are superficial reasons for her to think it won't work a second time, because the movie's not crappy enough to just totally handwave it away. It puts in a modicum of effort to make it kinda believable, but it falls pretty well short of the kind of out-of-its-way thoughtfulness I mentioned earlier. It's thematically consistent, but not realistic, and subsuming theme to realism or even internal consistency in moments like that is just a misstep.

Doubly so when the theme being reinforced has already been made, at that point in the film, abundantly clear. Little is really added to it by heaping another example onto the pile, and the only reason it's there is so people don't yell at the movie about why she never tried going to the authorities. It seems like a preemptive half-measure.
WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
I think it's also mitigated by the fact that she knows A.J. is still stuck down there with the Mother and can't afford to waste time waiting for more cops that may also give her the run-around. There's also the matter of how they emphasise again and again the conditions of the neighbourhood - the reveal of how the Airbnb house is the only remotely functional one in a street full of ruins, the job interviewer remarking on how bad it is and telling Tess she shouldn't be there, the fact that only one homeless person seems to live there - that give the impression of the cops considering it a low priority anyway. In any case, I don't really see it being such an inherently implausible scenario regardless of "realism" (which still feels like it could go either way).



WARNING: "Barbarian" spoilers below
All of that is factored into what I'm saying already. My argument is not "they didn't give a single coherent explanation for why she might do this," it's that it simply isn't sufficient at that point.

The idea that any real person would give up on law enforcement in such a dangerous situation after a single attempt just seems nutty. And while A.J. was in danger, she literally already made that exact mistake--trying to help the guy herself rather than get help--earlier in the film.

If someone wants to excuse it because It's Just a Movie, that's fine, but it's definitely an example of a movie being a movie and no longer trying to resemble real life. I'm willing to overlook it in total, which is why I said I like the movie and started by defending her character's judgment. Just not in this instance.



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Good fun! Not to be taken too seriously (which is not really a criticism, but rather a caution - yes there is a comment about who is really represented in the title, but the fun is not the destination but the journey). A journey just plausible enough to keep the momentum going forward. The fun is how the narrative plays with our expectations in terms of information given in the text and formal (genre) expectations. We are only given just enough of the picture to understand what is happening, right before we given more information which changes that picture. This is one of those films that is probably great to watch the first time, but more, because it is so deeply entrenched of the psychology of information (Who Dun' It? Whose Next?) which is the joy of not knowing, or suspense and not the psychology of form (which offers its joys in terms of architecture, such as the pleasure taken in listening to music). If I watch it again, I will have to watch it in the context of sharing it with someone else and enjoying their response.