Barbarian offers a fresh take on the horror genre


Ana Garcia and

Whether you are looking for a good scare or something to keep you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end, Barbarian is the horror movie to watch this year. Written and directed by Zach Cregger, this movie has just the right amount of gore, suspense, and twists. What makes this movie truly stand out from all the other horror movies? It explores gender inequity and the drastic differences between the way women and men navigate through everyday life. The movie follows the story of a young woman named Tess Marshall who arrives at her airbnb in Detroit but finds that a man, Keith Toshko, is already renting the space. As it gets darker and less safe, he invites her to spend the night until they sort everything out. After some convincing, she accepts. Everything seems to be fine until she begins hearing a strange sound coming from the basement and decides to explore. 

*If you have not yet watched this movie and plan to do so this is a major SPOILER WARNING*

Although today in the U.S women have more rights than they did 100 years ago, there continues to be a great imbalance of equality. Whether it is during a walk as it gets dark outside or going for a run alone, most women during their lifetime have felt unsafe and at risk of something bad happening to them simply because they are women. In the beginning Tess is stuck between two choices: she can stay outside and put her life in danger or accept the offer to stay with a complete stranger also putting her life in danger. After some thinking she decides the less dangerous choice is accepting Keith’s offer. Throughout her stay her “walls” slowly come down as she learns to trust Keith. At first she would make sure her door was securely locked at night while sleeping and the drinks she gave her were unopened. In one part she even explains to Keith that their situation would play out completely different if the roles were reversed. If she was the one renting out the place and he showed up claiming he reserved it as well, she would not invite him in under any circumstance. At first this might sound inconsiderate but he would most likely, unlike her, not feel threatened to drive at night and simply look for a different place to stay. Tess’ stay with Keith is only one of the major examples in the film exploring what it is like to constantly have to be extra careful and aware of your surroundings as a woman. The other major example is the villain in the movie itself. The plot twist in this film is one of the most surprising ones I’ve ever encountered. Since the beginning, the viewers are made to think “The Mother” is the one the protagonists should be afraid of. As the movie develops, however, it becomes clear who the real evil is: Frank, who would kidnap women from his neighborhood and keep them hostage under his house. He was the reason “The Mother” existed. She was not a monster, she was a victim. He abused the fact that all those women were vulnerable and unable to defend themselves against him. Sometimes dressing up as an electrician and tricking them to come into their houses. His character reinforces the reality that women have to be twice as careful no matter where they are, who it is, and what they are doing. This movie does a great job at explaining something most people do not think about that often: the continuous inequality between women and men and how it can come to affect every decision.