Vacation home rentals are considered by many to be some of the more comfortable and convenient options for finding a place to stay while traveling these days. Yet, you cannot deny that there is certainly a risk involved when renting a private residence owned by a complete stranger. It appears that this concept will be explored in a very dark and disturbing manner in the upcoming horror movie BARBARIAN.
Written and directed by Zach Cregger and produced by Regency and 20th Century Studios, the thriller — which is set to be released in AMC Theatres September 9th — follows a young woman who arrives at her vacation rental, where things immediately fail to go as planned and only get worse from there. See for yourself by watching the official BARBARIAN trailer below.
We don’t know about you, but that is, undeniably, one of the creepiest, most alluring and thought-provoking previews for a horror film we have seen in a while. Let’s explore our reactions to it on a deeper level in the following breakdown of the BARBARIAN trailer.
Barbarian Looks Like A Vacation Home Renter’s Worst Nightmare
The first half of the BARBARIAN trailer sees our main character, Tess, arrive at her vacation home rental at a very late hour of a dark and stormy night, only to find that the key is missing from the front door lock box. To make matters worse, when she rings the doorbell, a man named Keith answers, claiming that he is renting the same house before offering to let her stay the night anyway.
The trailer wastes no time at all shedding light on one of the bad scenarios a traveler might fear when booking a vacation home rental — the double-booking being the most excruciating, especially or a woman who's traveling on her own. His otherwise kind gesture to give up the main bedroom for her to use still does not make the idea of sharing a house with a strange man any easier to swallow. Not to mention, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Our House” playing over the soundtrack provides a perfectly eerie juxtaposition.
Also, is this double-booking even an accident, or is Keith the one orchestrating this mix-up for his own nefarious purposes? Either way, it does become clear by the end of the BARBARIAN trailer’s second half that nefarious things are afoot in that house.
What Exactly Is Going On In That Basement?
At the start of its second half, the BARBARIAN trailer shifts from uncomfortably awkward to morbidly mysterious as Tess is awoken by the bedroom door creaking open and footsteps quickly shuffling away before cutting to her exploring the basement, where she finds a secret passage. It leads her through a series of dark and dingy rooms before she hears someone shout “Help me!” and, suspecting it to be Keith, she descends further to find him crawling toward her on his hands and knees. That cues up a montage of increasingly unnerving and disorienting clips accompanied by a female voice describing a “process” that starts off “overwhelming” until it becomes a “pleasurable experience” before prompting the title card.
First of all, finding a hidden dungeon in your vacation home rental is easily the biggest red flag of them all. Secondly, showing Keith in a moment of desperation may have been meant to quell our suspicions of him, but we're still left to wonder about his role in whatever is happening. To the trailer’s credit, the preview still reveals very little detail regarding what unspeakable horrors Tess is facing in that house, save that cryptic narration near the end that gave us some real GET OUT vibes.
And then there’s the title. Exactly how BARBARIAN factors into the story remains to be seen.
The Cast Looks Great
If not for the creepy imagery and unnerving tone of the BARBARIAN trailer, what really has us excited for the thriller is the cast — or, at least, those we could clearly recognize from the teaser, two of whom are horror movie veterans.
The closest that Georgina Campbell — who plays Tess in BARBARIAN — has previously come to being a horror actor is her appearance in the “Black Mirror” episode “Hang the D.J.,” a role in another sci-fi anthology series called “Electric Dreams” and the more recent satirical psychological thriller ALL MY FRIENDS HATE ME. The English actress is otherwise best known from UK TV hits like the detective drama “Broadchurch” and movies like 2017’s KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD.
Playing Keith is Bill Skarsgård, who is likely best known for playing Pennywise in 2017’s IT and its 2019 sequel — which must be why we are initially reluctant to trust his character. Skarsgård also starred on another Stephen King-inspired project — Hulu’s creepy anthology series “Castle Rock” — and, before then, was a main cast member on Netflix’s werewolf drama “Hemlock Grove.”
The BARBARIAN trailer also shows a brief glimpse of Justin Long, who is always a blast to watch whether he is in a comedy like 2006’s ACCEPTED or a horror movie like JEEPERS CREEPERS from 2001. A notable combination of both genres on his resume is writer and director Kevin Smith’s 2014 flick TUSK, in which Long plays a podcaster surgically and psychologically transformed into a walrus.
Speaking of artists known for both comedy and horror, BARBARIAN is the first serious thriller written and directed by Zach Cregger, who is better known as a member of the comedy troupe “The Whitest Kids U’Know” and from helming feature-length comedies like 2009’s MISS MARCH. If this movie proves to be as ominous and unsettling as the trailer makes it out to be, Cregger could follow in the footsteps of Jordan Peele and become the next great comedian-turned-horror auteur.