Published On: Thu, Oct 27th, 2022

Barbarian review: One of the best horrors of the year | Films | Entertainment

As Airbnb has been a hit for a good 10years, it’s surprising it has taken directors so long to cotton on to its potential. There are opportunities for badly lit basements, creepy local legends and lines being crossed by a key jangling “host”.

All these elements (and a few more besides) surface in director Zach Cregger’s creepily effective house of horrors.

The film begins with an old favourite – the stormy night– as Tess (Georgina Campbell) pulls up at a house she has rented for the night before an interview in Detroit.

There’s no key in the safe, her host isn’t answering the phone, and then a light in the living room throws up the gangly shadow of a man. Keith (Bill Skarsgard), opens the door.

He claims he’s booked the house on a different app and offers to crash on the sofa and give her the only bedroom.

As Skarsgard is best known for playing the clown Pennywise in Stephen King’s It, hackles go up as soon as he flashes that killer smile.

Cregger toys with horror-savvy audiences for the next hour and a half, inviting us to scream at the screen as Tess is charmed by her unexpected housemate and makes ill-advised explorations of the house’s secret rooms.

Still, you won’t see the twists coming. The action moves to LA around the halfway mark as we follow the ­homeowner (Justin Long), who is a slimy actor facing allegations of sexual abuse from a female co-star.

The climax is a little disappointing, but this heady cocktail of scares, gore and dark comedy is one of the best horrors of the year.

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