Barbarian London film premiere 2023
In town for a job interview, a young woman arrives at her Airbnb rental late at night only to find that the house has been mistakenly double-booked and a strange man is already staying there. Against her better judgment, she decides to stay the night anyway, but soon discovers that there is much more to be afraid of in the house than the other house guest.
Barbarian London Premieres null
- Status: Not information yet
- Date: Not information yet
- Location: Not information yet
- Release in Cinemas: 2022-09-09
- Runtime: 102 minutes
- directors: Zach Cregger
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- Zach Cregger originally offered the role of AJ to Zac Efron. Efron turned it down, causing Cregger to rethink the role and offer it to Justin Long, who accepted.
- The script started out after Zach Cregger read the Gavin de Becker's book "The Gift of Fear," which encourages women to trust their intuition when confronted by obviously dangerous men. He used it as a writing exercise and began crafting a thirty-minute short that consisted entirely of a conversation in which a woman continues to ignore a mounting series of red flags. He liked it well enough that he knew he had the makings of a longer film and began conceptualizing a broader story for the characters.
- Richard Brake shared a story on Instagram about attending a late night screening of the movie, noting that a particular group of teenagers sitting a few rows behind him were really into the film and were terrified. When it was over, they were leaving the theater, using the flashlights on their phones, when the light accidentally caught Brake's face, the teens recognized him from the movie, then screamed and ran from the room in genuine fear.
- The Hollywood Reporter exposé on AJ is written by Kim Masters, who is a real-life reporter at the trade publication. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein cases, she became known for breaking stories about men in the film and TV industry who have been accused of sexual assault.
- The film is set on 476 Barbary St. The year 476 was when the barbarians invaded Rome. Director Cregger insists this is unintentional and purely coincidental.
- The title of the movie is written only using the letters from "Airbnb". A nod to the story's main setting, in addition to its primary meaning.
- Although not officially credited in any way, Jordan Peele was an invisible hand in shaping the eventual story. Star Georgina Campbell tells IndieWire in an interview: "[Writer-director Zach Creger is] good friends with Jordan Peele, and I think he spoke to Jordan Peele a lot while he was writing the film, and Jordan Peele saw an early cut of it as well," Campbell said. "So he definitely was kind of part of the essence of the movie."
- While the exterior neighborhood shots were filmed in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit, the rest of the film was shot in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- Zach Cregger revealed that he had a hard time getting the movie made due to its very unconventional style and plot, with even A24, a studio with a reputation for producing artsy horror films, passing up on it. Ultimately, 20th Century Studios decided to take a chance with it. The result was a Sleeper Hit that made its minuscule $4 million budget back about ten times, with positive reviews and finding even more of an audience on streaming.
- Actor Matthew Patrick Davis was flying blind when he signed on to play the monstrous Mother. "There are usually renderings that you can see, but I was not shown anything," he explained, having auditioned for the role over Zoom. "I was on a plane to Bulgaria and crossing my fingers, hoping it would be convincing." Tests to perfect the look of the mutated matriarch in writer-director Zach Cregger's suburban nightmare continued until the last minute. According to the actor, the first iteration was "a little cartoony" due to her teeth and head being too big and breasts that "looked like she had cosmetic surgery." The process involved feedback from both the director and Davis himself. Happy with the result, he admitted, "it was touch and go, but the effects team in Bulgaria was excellent."
- After the film's release, an alternative trailer was released on September 23, playfully portraying the film as "Justin Long's New Movie" before transitioning into the more horrific scenes.
- Rather than Mother being a one-piece body suit with other prosthetics added, the creation involved the actor being essentially naked with some applications, or, as Cregger described it to him, being "ass out." "They did experiment with making a cast of my butt during one of the makeup tests," he recalled. "I had a weird plastic fake ass but it looked so bad it was just like, 'We're just going to have it with a thong.'" The film's director asked Matthew Patrick Davis to shave his legs, arms and eyebrows, but that was where the performer drew the line. "I did Veet my entire body, which was a fun experience that I had never had before, but I asked if I could not shave my eyebrows because he was going to cover them with prosthetics," he explained. Mother's look consisted of a headpiece with the wig attached to it and facial prosthetics, but "her nose is my nose, and her mouth is my mouth." The effects teams used false teeth to push Davis' mouth out and change the shape of his face. Mother's look was enhanced by body paint, adding scars, making the actor's body pale and covering it in dirt including under his toenails, which Davis says he "could never get out." Davis also got prescription contact lenses, a tweak suggested by fellow actor Doug Jones, to change the color of his eyes. However, some of the prosthetics proved more problematic, namely Mother's pendulous breasts and a "weird merkin thing that covered the front of my crotch." All of these factors, and the very nature of the prosthetics, influenced when Cregger and his team could shoot specific sequences. "They knew they'd be the most convincing right at the beginning of the day when I'm stepping out of the makeup trailer," Davis remembered. "As soon as I start moving or sweating, that's when you'll start to see the seams, so for any close-up work, they would make sure to do that first and all the wide shots at the end of the day." "They did learn that maybe the crotch piece was the least convincing," he laughed. "They'd be like, 'Matthew, if when you jump into the pit, you can use your arm to cover your crotch, that would be great.'"
- Zach Cregger makes an appearance as AJ's friend, who he meets at a club and drunkenly confesses his crimes to.
- At one point, Keith says, "Do I look like some kind of monster?". Bill Skarsgård is best known for playing the monster clown Pennywise in 2017 and 2019.
- The flashback sequence following Frank is one to Angst (1983) down to replicating the film's alienating cinematography
- Frank wears a boiler suit and has slicked backed hair that makes him resemble Michael Myers.
- AJ drops the kitchen knife when he tries to draw it from his waistband. Later, he drops the gun in the exact same manner.
- In the flashback introducing Frank features the breakup song "Heat of the Moment" by Asia, and specifically the lyric "I never meant to be so bad to you", which ties into one of the movie's big themes: men are often insensitive and hurtful to women without entirely realizing what they're doing - but that's no excuse.
- The film's special effects are largely done practically, as Cregger had a soft rule for himself not to use any technology that John Carpenter didn't have whilst making The Thing (1982). The biggest digital effects shot in the film is the grass in the 1980's flashback, after all onset efforts to grow or fake it failed.
- The Mother's hair on the baby bottle was initially a mistake. Some of Matthew Patrick Davis' wig got stuck to the nipple and writer/director Zach Cregger thought it looked really gross, so he decided to add more to it.
- Writer-director Zach Cregger described the eventual duality of the film's visual presentation as "a Fincher movie on the top floor" and "a Raimi movie under the house."
- When AJ goes through the luggage at the Airbnb, he opens Keith's suitcase and there is a copy of Jane Eyre under his clothes. Like the mother, Jane Eyre features an "insane" woman who is locked away.
- The screen aspect ratio shifts from today's widescreen to an older standard ratio when the story shifts from the present day to the 1980s.
- The title "Barbarian" works on at least different levels. The term "barbarian" originated in Ancient Rome. Romans would call non-Latin speakers "barbarians" because their languages sounded like "bar bar bar bar" to their ears which is similar to the vocalizations of the mother when trying to say "baby". The other more obvious reference is Frank kidnapping and raping women and their offspring being objectively barbaric. Also, Frank is, quite simply, a resident of Barbary Street, ie. 'a Barbarian'.
- When Tess looks through Keith's things she finds his driver's license and it shows he is 5' 10", when in reality the actor Bill Skarsgård is almost 6' 4".
- Long's character is killed when the 'Mother' claws out his eyeballs. This is likely a nod to Jeepers Creepers (2001), where his character also loses both his eyes to the Creeper.
- The basement door locks from the outside and has a tendency to close on its own (and might even be spring-loaded). This seems like a dangerous flaw in the house design... until you remember that Frank was keeping people hostage down there, and likely intentionally had the door installed that way, or installed it himself, as a failsafe for any escapees.
- Body count: 5.
- Andre mentions that the Mother is the result of several generations' worth of incest, with Frank raping his victim's daughters (which are also his own). However, we are shown Frank preparing for what seems like the first birth in the mid-80s. It's also fair to assume that, being seemingly fully grown and taller than most of the cast, the Mother is at least 20 years old. Because of this, it's likely that on top of being a rapist and incestuous, Frank is also a pedophile who raped his own (grand)daughters before they came of age.
- Near the beginning, Tess gets into a light argument with Keith about how men and women respond to shady situations differently. Women feel the need to be very careful while men feel comfortable just blundering straight in. Indeed, Tess approaches both the AirBnB double-booking and the secret basement with extreme caution. When she tells Keith about it in terror, he doesn't take her fully seriously and goes to see the basement for himself rather than leave with her despite her protests. This leads to his death. On top of that, when AJ arrives at the house, he shows no concern for how run-down the neighborhood is, is more annoyed than concerned about the house showing signs that someone had lived there, and when he finds the secret basement, rather than want to get out like Tess did, he's more concerned about measuring it to increase the sale value of the house, which causes him to carelessly put himself in danger. Even Andre, who claims to be doing everything he does to stay safe from the Mother, doesn't seem to actually reinforce his hideout to ensure the Mother can't get in, simply assuming that he'll be safe. Tess and Keith also discuss in their conversation that the area their AirBnB is in is on the outskirts of the city where no one visits or wants to live, along with several other indications in dialogue throughout the first half of the film that indicate the area is considered low-value land. This neglect of the area is the exact quality that made the property attractive to Frank when he was building his dungeon, and also why no one has discovered what's happened in that house since. At one point in the same conversation, Tess observes that it's always the girls that get their hearts ripped out, to which Keith counters with "Girls can rip. Trust me." Tess sees that for herself at the end when Mother literally rips AJ's head apart.
- The Mother is shown trying to nurture both Tess and AJ after capturing them. Even when AJ doesn't listen to Tess' warnings and freaks out, she responds by trying to breastfeed him to calm him down. Yet with Keith, seemingly the nicest guy of all the men in the film, she doesn't hesitate to kill. Given Keith's creepy behavior up to the reveal of The Mother, he might have been evil all along. And the reason The Mother killed him might be because Keith reminded her of Frank. The serial rapist and killer who also raped his own victims children creating her existence. This means Tess was never safe the moment she entered the house, and The Mother, in her own way was trying to save her from the beginning.
- When we first see AJ, he's singing along to Donovan's "Riki Tiki Tavi." The lyrics are about how you have to "kill the snakes" yourself without the help of official institutions. Later in the film, Tess will have to rescue AJ and ultimately kill the Mother herself without the help of the police.
- The end song 'Be My Baby', performed by the '60s girl group The Ronettes, was written and produced by Phil Spector who was married to the lead singer of The Ronettes, Ronnie Spector, from 1968 until their divorce in 1974. In her 1990 memoir 'Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, Or, My Life as a Fabulous Ronette', Ronnie claimed she was imprisoned in Spector's California mansion and underwent psychological torment for years, and that with the help of her mother she escaped barefoot from the mansion in 1972. As well, Spector's two sons claimed that he held them captive for years with one of the sons describing himself as coming "from a very sick, twisted, dysfunctional family." 'Be My Baby' could be considered symbolic due to the relationship dynamics of Phil and Ronnie Spector and their sons when compared to Frank and The Mother; as well as Tess's escape from captivity, and The Mother's tendency to treat her captives as babies, and how The Mother helped save Tess from the fall.