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Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Barbarian: A Solid Horror Film Or Something More?

20th Century Studios
This is a photo of the “Barbarian” movie poster that was released on Sept. 9 of this year.

Starring Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard and Justin Long the Zach Creeger-directed Barbarian has enjoyed a highly successful opening for a low-budget horror film.

Is this a result of the film’s own virtues, a shift in the genre landscape, or both?

The initial plot sees Campbell and Skarsgard finding themselves double-booked at an Airbnb in Detroit and the duo soon discover that something sinister lurks under the house.

As the movie moves further along, we are introduced to other characters with seeming connections to the mysterious house and what it finds.

The early misdirection feels pretty nonsensical once the nature of the story is revealed and some of the violence delves into the realm of the cartoonish were some of the shortcomings the movie had.

However, the film succeeds at establishing a persistent sense of dread throughout its lean running time.

While all this makes for a fine viewing experience, it does beg the question as to why something as simple as an above-average low-budget horror movie has started to make waves.

The answer seems to lay in the changing horror trends that have rocketed other films of a different ilk to stardom in years past.

Consider the success of a film like It from not long ago.

While that movie certainly had more going for itself in a marketing sense (Pennywise still looms large to many), few could have anticipated what a gargantuan hit it would become.

Not to mention the film would spark a flood of similar retro-tinged projects that featured scrappy teenage outcasts doing battle with a horrific monster.

That trend is almost certainly winding down (though the renewed popularity of Stranger Things has every chance at changing that) and it is only natural that another flavor of horror arises to dominate the genre.

As popular culture is not anywhere near done remixing old ideas, it’s not surprising that another type of nostalgic reverence has taken hold.

The visceral, dirty, make you feel like you need a shower stylings of 70s terror began their comeback in smaller indie films but began to take carve out a place in the modern filmscape with a remake of perennial classic Suspira in 2018.

It was not long before others tried to capitalize on this trend with varying degrees of success (the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot remains a uniquely terrible film) and someone finally struck gold.

X from studio A24 steeps itself firmly in the trapping of the 70s, as it tells the story of an adult video shoot gone horrifically wrong in the aforementioned decade and proved a huge hit for the people behind it.

Though Barbarian is set firmly in the present day, its 70s influence can be spotted from orbit.

From the type of visceral violence its antagonist deals in, to the origin of her terrible machinations, there is little doubt that this film is using the language of the past to chart a new future of terror.

If I had to rate the movie out of 10, I would rate it an 8 out of 10.

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About the Contributor
Lukas Luna-Arellano
Lukas Luna-Arellano is the co-community editor for Talon Marks. He plans to shore up his literary credentials while at Cerritos before transferring. He enjoys reading, working out, and listening to various types of metal.
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Barbarian: A Solid Horror Film Or Something More?