Barbarian (2022)

by | Mar 14, 2024 | 2020s, Film Reviews, Horror, Mystery | 0 comments

A Disappointing Journey


Release date: 9 September 2022 (USA)
Genre: Horror/Mystery
Director: Zach Cregger
Cinematographer: Zach Kuperstein
Budget: $4 million – $4.5 million USD
Box office: $45.4 million USD

“In the darkest dungeons of despair, even the feeblest ember of hope can ignite the flames of revolution.”


In the realm of recent cinematic endeavours, “Barbarian” emerges as a puzzling addition. Directed by Zach Cregger, the film promised an intriguing narrative set in a medieval world filled with action, adventure, and perhaps a dash of humour. However, what unfolds on screen is a lacklustre tale that fails to captivate or engage its audience effectively.

Plot and Pacing

One of the most glaring issues with “Barbarian” is its disjointed and haphazard plot. The story follows a generic hero’s journey formula, with a barbarian protagonist embarking on a quest to save his kingdom from an evil sorcerer. While this premise has the potential for excitement and intrigue, the execution falls flat.

The pacing of the film is uneven, with sluggish moments punctuated by sudden bursts of action that feel disjointed and out of place. Instead of building tension and suspense, the narrative lurches from one scene to the next without allowing the audience to fully invest in the characters or their motivations.


Character Development

In a fantasy epic such as this, strong character development is essential to engage the audience and drive the plot forward. Unfortunately, “Barbarian” fails to deliver in this regard. The characters are one-dimensional and lacking in depth, making it difficult for viewers to empathise with their struggles or root for their success.

The protagonist, in particular, feels like a cookie-cutter hero with little to distinguish him from countless other fantasy protagonists. His journey lacks emotional weight, and his interactions with other characters feel forced and unconvincing. Without compelling characters to anchor the story, “Barbarian” struggles to maintain momentum or hold the audience’s interest.


Visual Effects and Production Design

One area where “Barbarian” does show some promise is in its visual effects and production design. The film boasts impressive CGI landscapes and creature designs that help to bring its fantastical world to life. However, these technical achievements are undermined by poor direction and uninspired cinematography.

The action sequences, while visually striking, lack energy and excitement, failing to elicit any real sense of danger or tension. Similarly, the set designs and costumes, while visually appealing, feel derivative and uninspired, lacking the creativity and originality needed to truly transport the audience to another world.


Dialogue and Script

A strong script can elevate even the most mediocre of films, but unfortunately, “Barbarian” falls short in this department as well. The dialogue is stilted and clichéd, with characters delivering clunky exposition and predictable one-liners that elicit more eye-rolls than laughs.

The humour, in particular, feels forced and awkward, with jokes that land with a thud rather than a chuckle. Instead of enhancing the overall experience, the poorly written dialogue only serves to highlight the film’s other shortcomings, leaving viewers cringing rather than engaged.


Direction and Tone

At its core, “Barbarian” suffers from a fundamental identity crisis. It struggles to find the right balance between humour and seriousness, veering awkwardly between slapstick comedy and epic fantasy without ever fully committing to either.

The direction feels uncertain and unfocused, with scenes that lack cohesion and momentum. It’s clear that Cregger had a vision for the film, but unfortunately, that vision never fully materialises on screen. Instead of a cohesive narrative with a clear sense of purpose, “Barbarian” feels like a series of missed opportunities and squandered potential.


Overall Impact

In the end, “Barbarian” is a disappointing journey that fails to live up to its potential. Despite its impressive visual effects and production design, the film is hampered by a weak script, lackluster direction, and uninspired performances. What could have been an exciting and immersive fantasy epic instead feels like a forgettable misfire that will leave audiences feeling underwhelmed and unfulfilled.


Final Verdict

While “Barbarian” may have had the ingredients for a compelling fantasy adventure, its execution leaves much to be desired. With a disjointed plot, underdeveloped characters, and lacklustre direction, the film fails to engage or captivate its audience effectively. Despite its visual flair, “Barbarian” ultimately falls short of its lofty ambitions, earning it a disappointing rating.


My Rating: 4/10





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