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Barbarian, movie (2022) - Film review by KadmonBarbarian, movie (2022)
image © Regency Entertainment / Monarchy Enterprises

Article updated: 2022.12.17

The Barbarian (2022) is a thriller / horror film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Barbarian, movie (2022)

Original title: Barbarian

Series: -

Setting: contemporary (fantasy) Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: thriller / horror, Style: thriller, horror, action, super-human abilities

Release: Premiere: 2022.08.29 (FrightFest, UK), Release: 2022.09.08

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Preferences: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises to spoilers, prefers establishing elements before referencing them

Watched: very recent (2022.11), first time

Rating: Good (2+ out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Good (2+ out of 3 points)

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This is my review of Barbarian, a thriller / horror movie from 2022. It's about the creepy misfortunes of a woman, who arrived in a new town. The Barbarian film is interesting, I recommend it to fans of the genre.

If you'd like to be surprised by the Barbarian film, I don't recommend you to watch the trailer beyond 0:58, because it starts to give away the twists. It basically provides a summary of a large part of the film, it's only the very end we are not shown.

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Review (spoiler-free) - Barbarian, movie (2022)

I didn't know much about the Barbarian, but I've heard that it's good thriller / horror film. When I had the opportunity, I thought I'd give it a try. I didn't watch the trailer.

The Barbarian movie is about the creepy misfortunes of a woman, who arrived in a new town.

The story (by Zach Cregger) is interesting, but neither the pacing nor the tone is consistent. There are no proper character arcs. I didn't find major logical problems.

The cinematography is good. You can see what's happening, even in dark scenes (and there are plenty of dark scenes). There are some nice transitions. The movie uses visual clues to indicate the thought of the protagonist. There are some creative uses of camera angles. The action scenes are easy to follow, even in almost total darkness.

The characters are not very well developed. We don't really get to know them, so it's a lot harder to care about them. The actors are doing their job just fine.

The music (by Anna Drubich) is good. I didn't really notice it in the background, but it fits the movie.

Barbarian is an interesting thriller / horror, that fans of the genre might enjoy.

My experience

I was mostly satisfied with Barbarian (2022). I happen to like stories with well-thought, logical plots, and interesting twists, and Barbarian delivered just that.

Rating: Good (2+ out of 3 points). Barbarian is a well-made film.

Enjoyment: Good (2+ out of 3 points). Barbarian is interesting, I liked it.

Rewatchability: I'm not sure. I think it's mostly the surprise of the story that makes you feel interested.

Chance of watching it again: Low. Now that I know the story, there's probably no need to watch it again.

Chance of watching a sequel: High. While probably not a sequel, I'd sure watch something like this.

Barbarian, movie (2022) - Film review by KadmonBarbarian, movie (2022)
image © Regency Entertainment / Monarchy Enterprises

Will you enjoy this?

If you like mystery or thriller movies, you might like Barbarian.

If you like supernatural or fantasy movies, you might like Barbarian.

If you like horror or action thriller movies (Alien, Life, Splice), you might like the Barbarian movie.

If you like movies jump scares, you might enjoy this, as there are some in the Barbarian film.

If you'd like to get comedic moments in your movies, Barbarian will disappoint you, as it's mostly serious.

If you can get through the first half hour of the movie still interested, be patient when the movie slows down, it will get into gear later.

If you like to be surprised by the development of events, you might love the Barbarian movie.

If you prefer visuals over story, the film is not very interesting visually, and it's also dark.

If you hate depiction of violence, you should probably avoid the Barbarian film.

Watching for plot points

If you are interested in thriller stories, I think it's worth watching the Barbarian movie for the plot points. At least the first segment of it.

Should you watch this on your own screen at home, or is it worth going to the cinema?

The visuals probably look better if you watch it in cinema, but I assume you'll get a similar experience either way.

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Barbarian, movie (2022) - Film review by KadmonBarbarian, movie (2022)
image © Regency Entertainment / Monarchy Enterprises

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Review with spoilers - Barbarian, movie (2022)

I mostly liked the Barbarian movie, but I can see that there are some problems with the structure that might bother people.

There are shifts in the tone through the movie. The second segment - although there's the accusation of rape in the background -, is more light hearted, almost comical at moments. Then there's a more tense, dramatic part. Then the ending becomes a supernatural horror, that's slightly comedic in exaggerations.

As RedLetterMedia points out, it's interesting that the woman doesn't trust the man she met in the house, because the circumstances were suspicious. Then she immediately trusts a man she shouldn't, because they are in the same situation. This might reflect on the situation of the actress, who worked with the filmmaker guy, so she trusted him because of the shared background.

In some aspects, the movie felt similar to Nope, movie (2022), as both of them were built from segments, and some of those segments were not necessary for the plot.


The cover of the movie is okay, it doesn't say much, but it doesn't spoil the movie.

The trailer

The trailer is basically a substitute for watching a large part of the movie.

If you prefer spoilers, it's a great trailer for the Barbarian film. If you prefer to avoid spoilers, it will ruin the movie for you.

Promise of the first scene

A woman tries to get into a house, at night, but the instructions sent over email doesn't work. I assume she'll have to spend the night somewhere else, maybe there's something going to happen to her while on the way.

Execution: Well, something did happen. So, I'm okay with the fulfilment of the promise.

Barbarian, movie (2022) - Film review by KadmonBarbarian, movie (2022)
image © Regency Entertainment / Monarchy Enterprises

Plot summary / Synopsis

First segment

A woman (Georgina Campbell as Tess Marshall) arrives in Detroit, and goes to a house at Barbary street, but contrary to the email she got, even though the code lets her in the lockbox, there's no key there. She cannot reach the agent, but notices that someone's in the house. She finds there a young man (Bill Skarsgård as Keith Toshko) who says that he also rented the house, on another service. The woman calls a hotel but they are fully booked. They decide that she can spend the night in the house, and next day they'll call the owner. They start talking, and the woman tells that she came for a job interview with a documentary filmmaker. They are about to make a new documentary about a group of artists in the city (the Lion Tamers), and the young man says that he is one of the founders of that group.

After they go to sleep separately, the woman wakes up due to the noises the young man makes, because he seems to have a bad dream. The woman also notices that her door was open, even though she closed it before going to bed.

When the woman gets out of the house the next day, she notices that all of the houses in the neighbourhood (Brightmoor) are derelicts, and there are wrecked cars on the sides of the road. On the job interview, the documentary maker warns her that the neighbourhood she rents the house is dangerous. While getting back to the house, a man runs after her, and chases her until she shuts the door.

As she looks around the house, she gets stuck in the basement, because the door closes on her. She finds a secret room there, with a bed and a camera. The young man arrives, and lets her out of the basement. She tells him about the secret room. The young man goes to check it, finds a set of stairs leading deeper, then he disappears. As the woman hears his voice, begging for help, she goes after him. When she finds him, he tries to explain to her that someone else is there. Suddenly, a savage woman (Matthew Patrick Davis as "The Mother") appears, and bashes the head of the young man.

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Second segment

A filmmaker (Justin Long as AJ Gilbride) receives a call from his network, with bad news. He has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman (Megan). In order to have some money for the trial expenses, he decides to sell his house in Detroit (that happens to be the house we've seen before). When he arrives, he finds the belongings of the young man and the woman. He calls the agent, but she says that the house hasn't been rented for weeks.

The filmmaker talks with a friend in a bar, and tells him, that he slept with the woman who accused him, and while she was resisting in the beginning, in the end, she let him. Back at home, he hears noises from the basement, so he goes there, and finds the secret room. As he wants to sell it, he decides to explore the place, so he could include it in the total area of the house. When he goes down, the savage woman scares him, and while he runs away, he falls into a pit, where he gets trapped. In the pit, he meets a woman (the woman from the first segment).

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Third segment

Past: We are in the time, when the neighbourhood was fine, during the Reagan administration. There's a man (Richard Brake as Frank), who is living in the house. He prepares for a home birth, and buys some stuff for that. He than follows a woman to her home. He pretends to be a worker, gets in her house, and opens one of the windows (probably for a later entry). When he gets home, we hear female screaming.

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Fourth segment

Present: The woman advises the filmmaker that he has to be calm, otherwise the savage woman also gets agitated. The savage woman offers a baby bottle to feed them. The woman explains that the savage woman wants them to be her babies. While the savage woman is occupied with the filmmaker, the woman gets out of the pit. She climbs out of the basement through the window, where a local man (Jaymes Butler as Andre) helps her out. The local man knows about the savage woman, and tells the woman that she should leave the filmmaker, and feel lucky that she got out alive. He tells her that the savage woman comes out of the house at night. And she is not the worst thing in the house.

The filmmaker is still in the basement, and as he wanders, he finds an old man (the man we've seen in the third segment). When the filmmaker finds it out that he was abducting women, he pulls a gun and shoot himself in the head. The filmmaker grabs the gun.

The woman finds police officers and leads them to the house, but they don't believe her, and say that nobody lives in that house. After the police leaves, she breaks into the house, to find the keys to her car. When she is about the leave, the savage woman bursts out of the house. She runs her over, seemingly killing the savage woman. The woman goes into the basement, where she gets shot by the filmmaker by accident. She is seriously injured, but they get out of the house. The car of the woman is wrecked, while the keys for the car of the man is in the basement. As they don't find the body of the savage woman, the filmmaker doesn't dare to go back for them.

They go to the hiding place of the local man, thinking they are safe. The savage woman breaks into the place, and kills the local man. The woman and the filmmaker climb up a tower, but the savage woman follows them. The filmmaker decides to toss the woman off the tower, hoping that the savage woman will jump after her. As the savage woman considers them their babies, she jumps after her, to save her. As the savage woman softens her fall, the woman survives. The filmmaker comes up with excuses why he pushed her off. Suddenly, the savage woman wakes up, and kills the filmmaker. The savage woman hugs the woman, trying to comfort her. When the savage woman indicates that she wants to bring the woman back to the house, the woman uses the gun to shoot the savage woman in the head.

The setting

Contemporary (fantasy?) Earth, probably the 2020s.

Except for the superhuman abilities of the savage woman, there are no other fantasy elements.

The savage woman

She was born in the basement, and probably couldn't leave it while she was a child. The local man theorises that she is the result of inbreeding. She watches baby nursing videos, and wants to be a good mother. In order to be a good mother, she abducts people to be her children.

She can survive being hit by a car. She can survive a fall from dozens of meters.

She can break through walls by sheer force. She is strong enough to tear human limbs off. She is able to crush a human head with her bare hands. (This is Terminator level strength.)

She is able to freefall faster than a normal human does. She jumps after Tess, who has already fallen several meters, but she not only catches up to her, she is able to go under her, so she would break the fall of Tess, whom the savage woman wanted to protect.

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Barbarian, movie (2022) - Film review by KadmonBarbarian, movie (2022)
image © Regency Entertainment / Monarchy Enterprises

Analysis of the story - Barbarian, movie (2022)

I liked the story, I didn't find any problems that would have prevented me from enjoying Barbarian.

The message of the story

Probably "Avoid Detroit"?

"It's not nice to force someone to have sex with you. If you still do it, at least not convince yourself that is was okay."

"Don't trust people, even if they look like a normal person, or wear uniforms."

The structure of the story

The scenes of first, second and fourth segment of the Barbarian film are played in sequence, following the same storyline. The fourth segment is set in the past, to shed some light on the background.

There's no single viewpoint character, however there's a distinct viewpoint character for the first three segments. There are shifting viewpoints in the fourth segment.

It doesn't have the usual arc of the dramatic structure - there's an introduction, action with abrupt ending, another introduction, another action with abrupt ending, yet another introduction, then it continues the previous action, and finally, a resolution.

Things I liked

  • It was interesting to see shots of the things that the woman thought about, instead of explaining it.

Problematic elements

The title: I'm not entirely satisfied with the title "Barbarian". Although I can think up a connection to the plot if I really want to, but it's not a very good description of the story.

Shifting tone: There are definitive shifts in the tone of the story. Although I was immersed enough that it didn't bother me, others complained about it, and I can also understand their stance.

Keith getting lost in the basement: He goes there, asks the girl to wait for five minutes, because he knows that she is in a hurry. Yet, he spends there enough time to find the stairs, and he goes down without telling her about it. Although the guy's an artist, and he seems to have an adventurous side, living in this area, but he doesn't seem to have a death wish.

The structure: The protagonist happens to be the least interesting character in the story. The climax of the movie is the climax of the plot that is introduced midway into the film - it's not the resolution for the story of Tess, it's the resolution for the story of AJ. As we don't really get to know Tess, we don't see her grow in character. AJ certainly doesn't change, and he gets his comeuppance. Keith didn't deserve to die, but I assume someone had to be sacrificed so the audience knows it's serious business.

Frank in the past: I have to admit that I happen to like the actor Richard Brake since watching the Knights of Cydonia, but I don't think we really need to see his misdeeds, especially as we don't really see much. So, as well it could have been left up to the imagination of the audience. The imagination would make him as terrifying as the audience wants to have him. In this segment, he just seems like a nice guy with a bad habit.

Unanswered questions

  • Was the power of the savage woman supernatural? If it was, what was their source?
  • Did the savage woman die in the end?
  • Are there further people hiding in the basement?
  • Will Tess survive?

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Possibilities of improvement

  • Give it a new title: Almost anything could be better, just be vague enough. For example Savage is similar, and it would work better in my opinion.
  • Leave only the scenes with Tess as the viewpoint character: This means cutting most of the stuff with AJ. While it is a certainly more well-rounded story than the one Tess gets, the story of Tess could get better if we leave AJ out of it.
  • Alternately, create an AJ version: Leave out the beginning with Tess and Keith, and start the movie with AJ in the car, and let the movie commence after that. That could be also a satisfying story.
  • Cut the past scenes: We don't get anything new or interesting out of that anyway.

How it could have been better?

I would have left out the supernatural elements. The story could have been scary enough without those.

Or, if there are supernatural elements, ramp them up, and give them some background. Let the guy be some last member of an occultist cult, and there's a portal to Hell in the basement, or something like that.

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

I haven't seen any other films of the writer / director (Zach Cregger). Now I'm interested in his works.

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Behind the scenes

The creator has written the first segment of the movie first - that's why it's so distinct from the rest of the movie. Then he came up with some continuation, to fit the runtime of a feature movie.

Thoughts about the reviews of others

Same reviewers had some questions, criticising the story:

Why did she rent a house in the middle of a dump? She might not have spent a lot of time on preparing for the trip, so she booked the first house.

Why is the woman so stupid to stay in the house even though the guy is an obvious creep? That's what regular, civilised people do when they don't want to hurt others unnecessarily. The guy acts like a creep, because he wants to be polite.

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Barbarian, movie (2022) - Film review by KadmonBarbarian, movie (2022)
image © Regency Entertainment / Monarchy Enterprises

Uses for the film - Barbarian, movie (2022)


  • Set in a contemporary setting.
  • A person traps others in a house to be their mates.
  • A person traps others in a house to be their children.


  • The scene when AJ drives and talk on the phone could be a great introduction to a character who is in the movie industry.



Scenario ideas - Role-playing game scenario ideas

New in town: The character arrives in a small town, where he doesn't know anybody. Night is coming, the weather is bad, he needs shelter soon. He doesn't know where to find a hotel. When he knocks on the first door to ask for help or directions, the owner invites him in.

  • The owner runs a restaurant. He always welcomes strangers to provide ingredients for his famous meatballs.
  • The character might find it out that the owner keeps people imprisoned in the basement. He feeds them by dropping some food through a hole on the floor. He doesn't want to talk about it, but doesn't let the character closer. If the character sets them free:
    • The prisoners were members of a criminal gang, who tried to rob the house, but they were captured. They will kill the owner and destroy the place if they are freed.
    • The prisoners are infected by a serious disease. The owner can't heal them, but doesn't want them to roam freely. They will spread disease if they are freed.
    • The prisoners belong to a minority - a race, species, religious sect - that the owner hates. They will be grateful if they are freed.

Strange visitor: The character is about to sleep, when a stranger knocks on his door. He tells the character that he just arrived into the town, and doesn't know anybody, but the weather is bad, so he'd like to stay for the night. He looks innocent enough to tell the truth.

  • The stranger come to visit someone who might help the character. That person owes one to the character for letting his friend stay.
  • When the character falls asleep, the stranger lets his partners in to rob the house.
  • The stranger is a cultist, who needs to sacrifice someone at midnight for his demon lord.
  • The stranger is a cultist, who needs to get himself sacrificed at midnight to gain additional powers (as an undead, or in the afterlife). He is desperate, so he asks the character to do that. If the character kills him, his ghost might give him some help in the future.

Scenario ideas - Wargame scenario ideas


Miniatures - 1/50-1/60 (28-32mm scale)

Civilians: Human-sized (S3) modern (advanced) human female / male civilian.

Savage woman: Human-sized (S3) wild human female with no clothes.

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Similar stories - Barbarian, movie (2022)


Michael Crichton: Eaters of the Dead (1976): In a historical (medieval) setting, there are inbred savages, who live underground, and kill people. By the end of the story, most of them are killed.


Bone Tomahawk (2015): In a historical (western) setting, there are inbred savages, who live underground, and kill people. By the end of the story, they are probably killed.

Creep (2004): In a contemporary setting, there's a deformed savage, who lives underground, and kills people. By the end of the story, he is killed.

The 13th Warrior (1999): In a historical (medieval) setting, there are inbred savages, who live underground, and kill people. By the end of the story, most of them are killed. Based on the Eaters of the Dead (1976) novel.

TV series & episodes

X-Files: Home (1996): In a contemporary setting, there are deformed, inbred savages. They have been living in the same house for a long time. By the end of the story, most of them are killed.

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Frequently asked questions - Barbarian, movie (2022)

Is the Barbarian (2022) film based on real events?

No. Although Barbarian (2022) contains elements of reality - there were people, who had the habit of capturing women, keeping children in cages, breeding with their own children -, the specifics of the movie are fictional.

Why is Barbarian (2022) called Barbarian?

The working title of Barbarian (2022) movie was Barbarian. Even after finishing it, the creator (Zach Cregger) couldn't come up with a proper title, so they've released the film as Barbarian.

Is the Barbarian (2022) film based on a book or comics?

No, Barbarian (2022) is not based on either novels or comics. Although the basic concept of the story came to the writer (Zach Cregger) while reading a non-fiction book, The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker.

Is the Barbarian (2022) film a remake or reboot?

No, the Barbarian (2022) film is neither a remake nor a reboot.

Is there a post credit scene in Barbarian (2022)? / Does Barbarian (2022) have end credit scenes? / Does Barbarian (2022) have a post credit scene?

Yes, there's a mid-credit scene in Barbarian (2022).

Is Barbarian (2022) worth watching?

A large part of the first segment of the Barbarian (2022) movie is worth watching, as a tense thriller. After the woman leaves the house, it's up to your tastes whether you'll like the story.

Is Barbarian (2022) scary? / How scary is Barbarian (2022)? / Is Barbarian (2022) actually scary?

How scary you find Barbarian (2022) really depends on your tastes. There are some jump scares, and there are some violent scenes. If you are scared of those, you might consider Barbarian scary.

What was the creature in Barbarian (2022)? / Who is the villain in Barbarian (2022)?

The antagonist in Barbarian (2022) is a savage woman (called The Mother in the credits), who is probably one of the children or unwilling wives of Frank, who lives in the secret basement of the house. For more information on the savage woman, read the The savage woman section of our review.

Why did Frank shoot himself in Barbarian (2022)?

It's not explained in the movie why Frank shot himself in Barbarian (2022). He probably wanted to avoid the consequences of his wrong-doings. Or maybe he wanted to kill AJ, but due to his old age, he was a very bad shot.

Where can I see Barbarian? / What is Barbarian playing on? / What streaming service is Barbarian on? / Where can I watch Barbarian online? / Is Barbarian available on Netflix? / Is Barbarian on Amazon?

As of 2022.12.17, Barbarian (2022) is available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, HBO Max, Microsoft Movies, Redbox, Vudu, YouTube. In some countries, it's on Disney+.

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Resources - Barbarian, movie (2022)


20th Century Studio: Barbarian: Official article.


IMDB: Barbarian (2022): Database article.

WikiPedia: Barbarian (2022 film): Database article.

Letterboxd: Barbarian 2022: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: Barbarian 2022: Database article.

TVTropes: Film / Barbarian: Database article.


: Concept art article / video.¤

Reviews with no spoilers - Barbarian film (2022)

: Review article / video about the Barbarian film with no spoilers.¤

Reviews with spoilers - Barbarian film (2022)

Alteori: BARBARIAN was actually more depressing than SCARY: Review video of the Barbarian movie, with spoilers. Includes a plot summary.¤

Mike and Jay (for RedLetterMedia): Half in the Bag: Barbarian: Review video of the Barbarian movie, with spoilers. Includes a plot summary.¤

Analysis - Barbarian movie (2022)

: Analysis article / video, explaining the finale of Barbarian.¤

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Buying the product - Barbarian, movie (2022)

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Have you seen the Barbarian film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!


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