WARNING: Full Spoilers for Barbarian ahead. If you haven't seen the movie, it's available now with an HBO Max subscription.
2022 has been an excellent year for horror new movie releases. From the one-two punch of Ti West's X and prequel Pearl, Jordan Peele's third cinematic outing NOPE, to the return of the Scream franchise after a twelve-year hiatus, if you are a lover of scary cinema, there is no time like the present to be a fan. But one shocker of a film stands out amongst the pack: actor turned-director Zach Cregger's critically well-reviewed Barbarian. The marketing for Barbarian was brilliant. The trailers only depicted scenes from the first third of the film and were cleverly edited, leaving eagle-eyed viewers to think Pennywise the Dancing Clown Actor Bill Skarsgård was the film's villain.
Now that the movie is streaming, people are freaking out about the movie's wild twists and turns. Mainly, Skarsgård gets his head brutally bashed only a third of the way through the film by one of the true villains: an inbred, topless psycho with a mommy fetish known as The Mother. And although The Mother dies by the film's end, fans are already clamoring for a follow-up. Though Cregger said in a recent interview with Comicbook.com that he isn't looking to return to the world of Barbarian any time soon, he does have an idea for a prequel. The director said:
One of the film's many surprises was a third-act 1980s flashback sequence that followed serial abductor, abuser, and–eventually–killer Frank. This sequence is instrumental in explaining the origins of The Mother and works wonders in making the audience somewhat sympathetic to the unusual horror villain. Cregger's prequel take would seem like the most logical and exciting approach if a follow-up were to happen. I would love to see a prequel that focuses on The Mother's story. This approach could recontextualize Barbarian, giving audiences a new experience with secondary watches.
There are already too many horror movies that rely on the story of sick men holding women in cages and doing unspeakable acts to them. An entire film following Frank would not only be uninteresting for the director but would more than likely be uninteresting for most audiences. A Frank-centric movie would be an unworthy successor to the brilliant originality that Barbarian puts on display.
For me, Barbarian was one of those rare cinematic experiences of being completely caught off guard and engrossed in horrific shock and awe, which is why I believe it's destined to be added to my list of best horror movies of all time. Let's hope that if a sequel or prequel does happen, the filmmakers approach the material in the same shocking way and give us a worthy follow-up.
Barbarian is streaming now. Horror fans might be interested in CinemaBlend's list of upcoming horror movies. And for all of your other film-going plans in the coming months, you can look at our 2022 movie release schedule.
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Ryan graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in English/Creative Writing.