MAJOR SPOILERS are ahead for Barbarian, now playing in theaters.
Barbarian is one of those horror movies you don’t just watch, you experience. And in the case of this film, not only critics are digging it, audiences are walking out of theaters calling Barbarian “crazy” and “rare.” No wonder the movie started off the spooky season with a No. 1 debut at the box office over the weekend. Before Barbarian opened to such high praise, writer/director Zach Cregger spoke to CinemaBlend about how test screening benefitted the movie ahead of its theatrical release.
During our Barbarian interviews, which also include the film’s stars Justin Long and Georgina Campbell, Zach Cregger informed us about how test screenings were beneficial to the horror movie. In his words:
So what brought the score up? As Zach Cregger shared, one key scene in Barbarian was added to the movie due to early audience feedback. As he continued:
Hey, test screenings can be valuable. As Cregger shared, people where not fully understanding the backstory of the mother and the man in the basement, so they added a line to clarify this. As an audience member, I will say that scene was an 'Aha!' moment for me regarding the explanation of the Barbarian ending.
As a result of Zach Cregger holding test screenings and listening, the movie changed for the better. As he shared, while not all filmmakers would care about holding them and looking to feedback, he absolutely found it an important part of the filmmaking process. Cregger is a first-time horror filmmaker and it helped him out to get some audience participation.
While Barbarian starts with Georgina Campbell’s Tess and Bill Skarsgard’s Keith finding themselves double-booked in an Airbnb, it’s what lurks in the house’s neighborhood that really ends up supplying the film's terror. Tess, along with the house’s owner AJ, played by Justin Long, later on, become imprisoned by a beastly woman who is one of many victims of years of abuse against women by the prior owner of the house. Having it spelled out that the creature is actually the daughter of the man enriches the concept.
Following Barbarian, you can follow along on what upcoming horror movies are coming out next and look out for more exclusive interviews here on CinemaBlend.
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.