review of a great horror movie on Disney+ (yes, yes)

What does the fox say?

How could one of the most inventive, wicked and creepy horror films of the year fail on Disney+? It’s very simple: because it’s not a Disney production. Rather, it is one of the few miracles performed by the remnants of the late Fox and therefore unexpected proof that the firm now in the hands of Mickey still has the means to surprise.

As we learn from a fascinating article by vulnerabilityafter a laborious fundraising phase during which almost all the doors were closed, the director and screenwriter Zach Cregger ended up winning over the independents of BoulderLight Pictures, who, via veteran Roy Lee, have obtained the services of Vertigo, then Logical Pictures, despite the refusal of A24 and Neon in particular.

Barbarian : Photo Bill Skarsgård“How is it not a new haunted house story?”

Finally shot in Bulgaria for 4.5 million dollars following the death of a financier and an emergency agreement with New Regency, Barbaric come a long way and would never have reached our country without the old alliance that still unites Regency and the famous Fox, then already under the control of Disney. And this is how hope is reborn.

The repurchase of the studio to the fox was clearly intended to seize the few licenses still in its possession, to the detriment of the distribution to the greatest number of original independent productions via the subsidiary Searchlight (28 days later, Martha Marcy May Marlene Where Ready or Not, it was them). But we have to believe that despite the flop of its latest offspring, there is still room for curiosities such as Barbaric.

Barbarian : Fotograf Georgina CampbellSurprise at the end of the line

A curiosity that necessarily recalls the strangeness of The Empty Man, one of Fox’s last proteges, he also arrived on Disney + to general indifference. Except that unlike The Empty Man, Barbaric benefited from an enthusiastic test screening, which straightforwardly – ​​oh miracle – convinced Disney to release the film in theaters, even if it meant completely disfiguring its pretty calendar (unfortunately not in France). And this is very encouraging, because the film does not have the means to face the caution of the big Hollywood powers, and we had to take risks for him.

Barbarian : Fotograf Georgina CampbellDifficult pregnancy

The New Barbarians

Miraculously, he nevertheless had everything to repudiate the Hollywood pundits: not content with leaving the rails of the classic horror story very quickly, he multiplies the narrative breaks, even if it means deliberately losing the viewer thanks to judicious black screens placed judiciously after slow and cruel rises in tension. In other words : its interest lies partly in the surprise effect, hence the difficulty of drawing a review (do you feel how much we row?)… and a promotion. Moreover, we advise you not to exceed half of the trailer.

And how refreshing it is to see no further than this initial situation, which is as funny as it is worrying, a stupid story of simultaneous rental from AirBNB! From there, the story builds its tension through the amazed eyes of its heroine, sparing us an overdose of dramatic irony and a classicism whose tricks we know, thanks to a staging that gains momentum at the right time, judicious casting choices and above all a writing that dodges with disconcerting agility the clichés of the genre to stay off the beaten track. the “Nope” pronounced by poor Tess, setting her apart, for example, from her not very clever congeners.

Barbarian: photo, Georgina CampbellYou who enter here…

Because the absolutely terrifying uncertainty that frames the story is after all very human and each step taken towards the depths of the unknown plunges us a little more into its less brilliant recesses. This is its greatest quality: when the true subject of the feature film has passed its halfway point, we realize that its narrative structure is less a messy rewind sequence than a gigantic nesting dollwhich explores remedy after remedy of a more or less explicit threat, although terribly familiar.

Barbaric surprises before demonstrating its great coherence at the end of a climax in the surgical assembly, whose ultimate twists however did not convince everyone, but whose physical and symbolic violence has rarely been reached in recent years, including among the many films ultimately sharing the same subject. To put it more simply, Barbaric is an authentically original work.

Barbarian: photo, Georgina CampbellOk we admit: it’s the batcave

And that’s why its arrival on a platform as formatted as Disney + not only proves thatthere remains a taste for risk at Fox and more generally in Hollywood, but also that market research and the increasingly overwhelming share of mega-franchises in the industry have not fully replaced test screenings and word of mouth. And it is in the name of the latter and happy not to have spoiled the plot that we warmly advise you to let yourself be tempted. Who knows, its success in Europe may set a precedent.

Barbarian is available on Disney+ in France since October 26, 2022

Barbarian: Poster


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