The Director’s Switch from Comedy to Horror
Director Zach Cregger is well-recognized for doing his lowbrow comedy skits in the show ‘Whitest Kids U Know.’ Since his show had gotten so popular, he and his pals even participated in his comedic debut ‘Miss March.’ Just like the actor and director Jordan Peele, he is one of those comedic talents that has surprised his fans by experimenting with the horror genre. The movie ‘Barbarian’ will impress his fans and will make them wonder how a comedically talented individual can also make a horror film. If Jordan Peele can find success in making the terrifying ‘Get Out,’ then Zach Cregger can also make a name for himself by creating a frightening story for our modern times.
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This fall’s latest horror film ‘Barbarian,’ tells the tale of a young woman named Tess (played by Georgina Campbell) who arrives at the Airbnb she had booked in a Detroit home for the purpose of a job interview. However, things get complicated for her as she finds out that a man named Keith (played by Bill Skarsgard) has already reserved the place. Keith tries to come up with a solution that would work for the best of them. Nonetheless, Tess ends up staying in the basement. It may seem like a predictable premise but Tess’ situation gets a bit more complicated than that. I don’t have any plans to discuss the rest of the story since I believe it will spoil the whole movie. The first act plays off as a cliche, but Zach Cregger is aware of how he pulls his audience into a formulaic hook that will make audiences think that they already know the plot before it ends. The film will remind cinephiles how it could be inspired by other horror films that got released in the late 1960s or 197os. Zach Cregger hopes for audiences to walk away thinking how their assumptions got the best of them. I do not want to give the impression that it will be in the likes of Roman Polanski’s ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ or Tobe Hooper’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ Zach might have seen these films, and prefers to make an original horror film that would provide the same intentions of shocking their viewers.
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‘Barbarian’ – The Horror Film’s Merits
People will like the familiar faces that appear in the film. Bill Skarsgard is well-known for appearing in Stephen King’s latest adaptation of ‘It’ as Pennywise the Clown. Justin Long, who is known as the character from ‘Jeepers Creepers,’ is in the film. In the movie, he plays an actor who owns the Airbnb. As the story continues, audiences will learn that he is not what he seems to be. I do not have any plans of spoiling his backstory. All I can say is that he is in a tough dilemma that makes his character a lot more interesting.
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The camera work and lighting were done for the purpose of keeping the viewers in suspense since the lighting was provided by the flashlight of the cell phone and an actual flashlight. The practical lighting makes the viewers feel part of the story and suspense. It was a challenge for Cregger to come up with a horror story since he has a strong background of creating comedic work in the past. However, he did a good job of having a strong pace and some good sense of scares since comedy and horror have one thing in common that makes their stories work: timing. It is important for the writer to be aware of knowing when to scare or make their audiences fear for their life. The writing of the movie is very clever since there was a lot of exposition about the Detroit home. We see Tess being familiar with it, which helps the audience to be a part of the experience to get involved in the worldbuilding and suspense of her situation. Zach Cregger wrote the script in the hopes of spoon-feeding the audience how each room will be utilized for his protagonist. The director has no plans to confuse his audience. He simply wants them to experience the unexpected twists and turns of the story.
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The film shouldn’t be taken that seriously. Just like ‘Get Out,’ the film is aware that it is a horror movie that lives up to its epitome of simply giving the audiences the scares that they hoped to get. ‘Barbarian’ does the same thing. Both main characters of the film remain skeptical of the new environment that they are in. If Tess or Chris Washington were to follow their skeptical behavior and not partake in their journey, then horror films would not have stories at all. Just like Steven Spielberg’s Jaws made people afraid to go back onto the beaches, ‘Barbarian’ will have millenials scared of booking for their next Airbnb. The film will impress horror fans that are fans of the grindhouse genre. It’s not a movie that is made for the faint of heart. Despite how dark the film really is, there is also some dark humor that will remind the viewers that they are watching a story that is created by Zach Cregger, one of the founders of ‘Whitest Kids U Know’ and the actor who starred in ‘Friends with Benefits.’ He is an actor-turned-director that has worked in comedy for too long. For him, it was time to experiment with the horror genre. I don’t want to give the impression that Zach Cregger will be the next Jordan Peele. However, there have been comedic actors that are more than willing to experiment with creating horror films. Perhaps Zach Gregger will have little to do with the comedy genre that he became famous for.
Written and Directed by Zach Cregger
Produced by Arnon Milchan, Roy Lee, Raphael Margules, J.D. Lifshitz
Starring Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard, Justin Long
Cinematography by Zach Kuperstein
Edited by Joe Murphy
Music by Anna Drubich
By Marco Castaneda
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