A woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems.

A woman's Airbnb rental hides a dark secret in . Tess Marshall () has travelled to Detroit for work, and she arrives at the house she rented through Airbnb to find that it is already occupied by Keith (). With Tess unable to find alternative accommodation for the night, she reluctantly accepts Keith's offer to stay in the house and deal with the double booking in the morning. However, Tess wakes up the following day to find Keith absent and finds something strange when she explores the basement.

Barbarian is a horror film written and directed by Zach Cregger, taking place predominantly at a house on 476 Barbary St., in a decrepit neighbourhood of Detroit. The film's best viewed knowing little about the plot, other than the initial set-up of the protagonist Tess, is arriving at her Airbnb rental to find that it has been double booked, with a man named Keith staying at the house. However, at one point, the plot switches focus to a disgraced actor named AJ (), the owner renting out the house, unbeknownst to the horrors within.

It is becoming increasingly common that at least once a year, a mainstream horror film is released with a lot of hype bordering on hyperbole. Last year it was James Wan's Malignant, which I have to say was very much worth the hype. Now, there's Barbarian, which some say is one of the best horror films to come around in a while.

Without giving too many details about the plot, Barbarian is a film that is split into two distinct halves. I thought the first half of Barbarian works better than the second because there's a lot of fear of the unknown. We do not know if Bill Skarsgård's character Keith is trustworthy, and Georgina Campbell's Tess seems to be ignoring some undeniable warning signs that she should get back into her car and drive away.

By the time Barbarian introduces the third protagonist AJ, played by Justin Long, around the film's midpoint, the cat has already been let out of the actual threat of Barbarian. While it is still fun watching AJ be blissfully ignorant of the danger around him, the second half of Barbarian is not as suspenseful as the first.

While there may indeed be some hyperbole behind the hype of Barbarian, the film is still a pretty well-crafted horror film that is best seen going in knowing as little as possible.

Trailer for Barbarian

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.