Zach Cregger is another in a series of relatively anonymous American actors who decided to try his hand at both writing and directing, and the result is more than a pleasant surprise. A shocking and gruesome horror full of surprises and an interesting and wisely structured film, in which the city that probably records the largest population decline in America, Detroit, served as a great backdrop. Tess (Georgina Campbell) went there for a job interview, arriving at the former Motown at night and during a rainstorm. She booked the house through Airbnb, but another person has already moved into the same house. Apparently there was a mistake and the house was rented to two people at the same time, and although reluctantly, Tess will agree to share the accommodation with an unknown young Keith (Bill Skarsgard).
And only the next morning will both Tess and Keith realize where the house they rented is actually located and that they have arrived in a neighborhood called Brightmoor, which is one of those real ghost towns. Literally all the houses except the one that is rented and in which they are located are abandoned and completely neglected, as if they were created for squatters and bums, but this will not be the only problem for these two young people who will meet there by chance. Soon, Cregger shifts the focus of the story to AJ Gilbride (Justin Long), an actor facing accusations of sexual abuse of a co-star, and he is also the owner of the same house, which is rented twice.
AJ probably wouldn’t even have remembered that he owns that house on the edge of Detroit if he didn’t need money for legal fees, so he will also head east from Los Angeles. And the story is not only full of surprises, but Cregger wisely thought it out and placed it in the context of the time, and the casting was solidly done. Likewise, the youngest Skarsgard, whom the young black woman will find in the house she paid for, seems approachable, benevolent, honest at the same time, but there is something creepy about him, and all the time one wonders if Tess acted wisely in deciding to share the house with him. There’s also Justin Long who just seems like a bit of a slob and is the perfect choice for the role of a no-nonsense actor facing terrible accusations. Although there is nothing in “Barbarian” that we haven’t already seen in some horror, Cregger managed to bring freshness to the genre and made a film that is simultaneously creepy, shocking, and fun.