“Barbarian” has quality jump scares and freaky moments, but it leaves so many questions.
|Screenplay By||Zach Cregger|
|Date Released (In Theaters)||9/8/2022|
|Genre(s)||Action, Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller|
|Duration||1 Hour, 42 Minutes|
|Content Rating||Rated R|
|The Mother||Matthew Patrick Davis|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
In a town outside of Detroit, Michigan, where most of the houses have fallen way beyond repair, one is still in good condition due to being an Airbnb location. Unfortunately for Tess, besides being an AirBNB location, it is also on another company’s app, thus leading to it being double booked and her having to share the house with Keith. This is uncomfortable for Tess because Keith is too eager to be accommodating and is also a rather strange man.
However, Tess is in town for an interview, and while Keith is surely eccentric, he could be harmless. Yes, when Tess goes to sleep and closes the door, it is open, and she can hear Keith making a bunch of disturbing noises in his sleep. But, after confronting him, things chill out. At least until Tess looks for toilet paper and discovers many strange things going on in the basement. Which, based on a third party cluing us in, that basement has had stuff going on down there for decades.
Things To Note
Why is “Barbarian” Rated R?
- Dialog: AJ curses up a storm like he gets points towards a gift card for cursing
- Violence: Dismemberment, people’s skulls caved in, eyes bursts, gun violence (self-inflicted and for murder), and blood
- Sexual Content: Nudity (in a way that is not meant to be tantalizing) and implication of rape
- Miscellaneous: There is drinking
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.
Fresh from a relationship with a potential narcissist, Tess is looking to start her next chapter working for a documentarian whose focus is often based in Detroit. But, while Tess has her wits about her at first, when it comes to the house rental she is in, her empathy and care for people like Keith and AJ bites her in the behind.
Keith is a member of the Lion Tamers group, which seeks out housing to make communities, and he is scouting within Brightmoor for the next neighborhood his group can invest in, develop, and live in.
AJ is a recently disgraced actor dealing with a rape accusation from his co-star who, desperate for money, starts looking into his properties in Michigan to help with his attorney fees.
Since the 1980s, Frank has abducted, raped, and had inbred children.
“The Mother” is the name for the monster living in AJ’s home’s basement.
Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
You Are Invested In The Characters We Meet
Whether it is Tess, who is fresh from a relationship she doesn’t want to deal with and trying to work with a documentarian, to Keith, who is trying to find housing for a group he is part of, you get invested in those two quickly. They seem likable, lovable even, and while Bill Skarsgard will always have the creepiness of playing Pennywise part of his shadow, there is a certain awkward charm there. The kind where you think he is either misunderstood or your instincts that gave him a negative perception of him was spot on.
Then with AJ, you get invested in him since Justin Long plays him in such a way you want to see the worse happen to him. He is a terrible, despicable person, and you get such a visceral reaction out of what he does and gets away with that you hope the worst comes, and you’re allowed to watch.
The Type Of Horror Movie That Makes You Want To Look Downward
I am the type of person who goes to see horror movies, and as soon as the music picks up or goes quiet, I am not looking right at the screen. I keep my head down because I know what’s coming, and even with chickening out a few times, “Barbarian” still caught me off guard and freaked me out. This is especially true when it comes to the thing in the basement, which will freak you out when you see it, and I don’t know if you may get used to it because “Barbarian” doesn’t necessarily over-exploit it.
You Get Mixed Feelings About The “Monster”
While, as noted in the next topic, you are left with a plethora of questions, one thing is for sure, you may not see the monster as this evil creature. As you learn about its origins, you may develop a soft spot for it. Especially as you see how it interacts with some of the characters in a way that doesn’t make it any less creepy but does add layers to it.
On The Fence
You Are Left With So Many Questions
In the ending spoilers below, we’ll go into more detail, but let me say this, based on what we learn throughout “Barbarian,” one of the things you’re going to ask is where are the bodies? That is a big question, and why does the monster fear something else in the basement? Never mind the tunnels. Who made them, and who is maintaining them? It’s Detroit, it snows, it rains, and you’re telling me, considering those tunnels likely go under many dilapidated homes, those tunnels, for decades, are still pristine and without issue? Especially considering the home’s current deed holder, AJ, didn’t know about them?
Ending Explained & Summary
Before the Reagan administration, to give you a timeline, Frank kidnapped women, raped them, and alongside having babies with them, he would also have babies with his offspring. Based on Frank’s recordings, there had to be over 20 women he did this to, which is what led to “The Mother.” She is someone who is assumingly one of Frank’s descendants, maybe a grandchild, perhaps a great-grandchild, it is hard to say. All we know for sure is that she is a bit feral and obsessed with being a mom, thanks to a video on repeat about breastfeeding she has watched.
Hence, whenever she captures someone, she tries to treat them like her baby, and if they comply, as Tess did, they get to live. However, if they are like Keith and frighten her or misbehave, she generally kills them. Now, where does she take the bodies? That is unknown. Also, where are her aunts, potential uncles, siblings, or the bodies of the other women Frank raped and potentially killed? Again, who knows?
All we know is that Tess and Keith both rented the house that AJ owns for some residual income. Tess is the first to discover the room Frank would rape people, and Keith is the first one to meet and be killed by “The Mother” in the movie. Tess is there when he dies, and she tries to run away but ends up in a trap and for weeks is alive thanks to her being compliant.
AJ, who is an actor experiencing a #MeToo moment for pressuring a co-star into sex, decides to leave Los Angeles and live in his rental home as he tries to come up with the money to fight his case. While in the house, he realizes how big it is and measures it extensively while ignoring all the red flags of Frank’s work. At least until he meets “The Mother” and ends up trapped in the same hole Tess is.
From there, AJ not being compliant leads to “The Mother” not feeding him with a bottle, as she does Tess, but trying to with her breasts, which gives Tess the much-needed time and opportunity she needs to escape, and she is helped by a man who lives in a water tower nearby. But, being that Tess is a good person, she goes back for AJ, which bites her in the behind. Why? Because AJ isn’t a good person.
After escaping “The Mother” and meeting Frank, he learns what Frank has done for decades, and with the threat of bringing the outside world in, Frank kills himself the first chance he gets. AJ takes his gun, and on the hunt for “The Mother,” during his escape, he shoots Tess. Following that, he does try to get Tess out of the house and into town, but “The Mother” finds them. This leads to AJ trying to sacrifice Tess so he can get away. How? Well, they climb up the water tower, after the guy who helped Tess earlier gets killed, and AJ throws Tess off the water tower, and “The Mother,” who truly loves Tess, seemingly sacrifices herself so Tess can survive the fall.
However, the fall didn’t kill “The Mother,” and once she regains consciousness, she kills AJ and tries to bring Tess back to the basement because she is injured. But Tess grabs the gun AJ took, and lands the death blow to “The Mother,” and then walks into town.
Is There Sequel/ Prequel Potential?
Like how “X” has “Pearl,” you could say “Barbarian” has prequel potential. There are so many questions about why Frank stayed, how the tunnels were built, what happened to all the women he raped, and with “The Mother,” how did she stay alive? When we meet him, Frank is bedridden and can’t do anything, and “The Mother” refuses to go near his room. So, did she just scavenge and eat squirrels, or is the reason we don’t see the bodies of her family is that she ate them?
There is just a litany of questions left to be asked regarding “Barbarian.”