Tess, in Barbarian, climbs a ladder to escape the Mother.

The Must-See Horror Film of This Halloween Season Is Now Streaming

Horror is a genre that is constantly changing and one that also allows its creatives to tackle storylines with allegories and frightening beasts while still giving its audience much to think about. And that’s exactly what the must-see horror film of 2022 does. I’m talking about Barbarian, of course.

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For so many, myself included, we didn’t know what to expect from this movie. It was a sleeper of a hit among fans of the genre and has been talked about as one of the best horror movies of this year. And rightfully so. It was genuinely one of the few recent horror movies that shocked me. Not to say that the genre is predictable, but there are beats we can all typically expect, and whatever I thought this movie was going to be, it twisted and went in a completely different direction.

The film that brought us Justin Long as the “nice guys finish last” type of gross Hollywood actor, Barbarian left so many of us talking about the roles that both Long and Bill Skarsgård played as well as how many women knew exactly the fear that lurked beneath the surface of this simple Airbnb. And now you too can experience the Zach Cregger masterpiece on HBO Max.

Playing against type to reach a woman’s nightmare

At the core of Barbarian comes a story that women know all too well: the fear of being alone with a strange man and how that fear manifests. It starts with Georgina Campbell’s character Tess and getting to her Airbnb only to discover that there is someone else staying there. The relationship between Keith (Skarsgård) and Tess grows, and their comfort levels around each other change, but we never really lose that tension because Tess doesn’t really know Keith. Even though they are more trusting of each other, there is still a fear there.

As AJ (Long) comes into play and we see how his story plays into that of Tess’s, we get to see just how deep the betrayal of men runs and there are so many layers to Barbarian that are hard to talk about if you haven’t seen the film. It is just so incredibly good? And the way that Cregger used both Skarsgård and Long in Tess’ story is something that I honestly do think I will be talking about for years to come.

So if you haven’t yet, I highly suggest celebrating the Halloween season by watching Barbarian from the comfort of your home. Maybe just make sure your basement is safe and check your surrounding space before you start.

(featured image: 20th Century Studios)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.