Barbarians is a 2021 British home invasion thriller about four friends who get together for a celebratory dinner party at a country house. However, as the night progresses dark secrets emerge and unsettling events begin to unfold around them.
Written, co-produced and directed by Charles Dorfman making his feature directorial debut (producer of Boys from County Hell; Satanic Panic). Also produced by Laurie Cook, Neil Jones and Jason Newmark.
The movie stars Iwan Rheon, Tom Cullen, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Will Kemp and Inès Spiridonov.
“First-time director Charles Dorfman not only coaxes some great performances out of his two leads but has a good eye for tension building and tone. Unfortunately, the film falls apart a little at the end; when the action is taken outside in the dead of night, and there is so little illumination, it becomes difficult to see what is happening.” 3/5 Awesome Friday
“Personally, I’ve had enough tense family dinners to last me the rest of my life, but if you’d like to sit in on another one, this is an intriguing film that explores the ridiculousness of influencer culture and masculinity while telling a gripping and brutal story.” B&S About Movies
“The dinner table serves as the battleground for the various egos in play but the lack of complete involvement causes it to be mildly disappointing. There’s an opportunity for a Succession-esque war of words and vigor that is overlooked. Rather than putting the focus here, Dorfman more or less plows through it.” Back Stage OL
“Dorfman’s slow-burn offers scenic set pieces and fascinating character work, focusing more on subtle satire than horror. It results in a third act that isn’t intense enough to satisfy […] Playing the horror too safe after a lengthy, plodding act two gets further diminished by cat and mouse sequences obscured by darkness and frenzied camera work.” Bloody Disgusting
“Barbarians sadly suffers from being far too familiar. Perhaps if you’ve not seen this trope done to death, you may enjoy the tense ride but if you’ve seen other films like this, you’ll spot all of the twists and turns coming a mile off. I really wanted the film to surprise me but sadly it never did and the ending felt inevitable…” 2.5/5 Entertainment Focus
“It’s a pretty good thriller filled with a sprinkle of dark comedy in it that heightened its level of threat in the third act, albeit a little too dark to see what’s going on.” Every Agent
“This is the type of movie that is a really good sum of other movies parts. It’s reminiscent of The Strangers insofar as situations that occur. The real meat and potatoes of this film though are the relationships between the four main characters. It is their chemistry and their banter that make the film.” C+ Film Snob Reviews
” …the characters are deliciously flawed (in very organic and real ways) and the story keeps evolving. It’s both a total mindf*ck and the essence of human nature. This thriller kept throwing unexpected twists at me and the cast delivered all the elements of this rollercoaster ride perfectly.” 4/5 Heaven of Horror
“It’s hard to ignore that Barbarians is very poorly written, and even with a largely talented cast, its energies are almost always focussed in entirely the wrong places. There are better, deeper and far more satisfying thrillers very similar to this, so sadly there’s little to recommend here.” 2/5 HeyUGuys
“The art direction and frequent crow’s-eye-views of the landscape, plus some party sounds from the Kubrick back catalogue, give it a poised, ironic feel that cuts against the steady rise of tension and Cullen and Rheon provide squirm-inducingly convincing, deeply horrible characterisations as different stripes of ghastly guy … a tactic that proves a mixed blessing when tables turn and they’re in danger.” The Kim Newman Web Site
“Writer/director Charles Dorfman takes time to cleverly set up Barbarians to be going in one direction, only to jerk the wheel and change course in the final act to something quite different. It’s a well-made effort and the small cast of actors (filmed during the pandemic) carry it all off nicely, covering up secrets until they are ready to be shared and even then maybe not being totally truthful. A big negative is that the lighting near the end is atrocious.” The MN Movie Man
“Despite providing an intense experience, writer/director Charles Dorfman weaves in plenty of dark, often awkward humour, making the conversations flow more naturally. The house that contains the film’s events is suitably showy, again placing a surface sheen with an underlying ugliness and threat. Rattling through contentious dinner party conversation allows all the performers to really live in their characters for an extended period.” 4/5 Scared Sheepless
“Dorfman […] serves up plenty of surprises throughout this fine film. His direction is keen, and his flair for horror is as impressive and well done as his sense of drama, with plenty of nasty little flourishes and subtle reveals. The four leads are all terrific, making Barbarians worth a watch for their acting alone.” 4/5 The Scariest Things
The film had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 28th 2021. It was also shown at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain and Frightfest in London.
Barbarians will be released theatrically and On-Demand (VOD) in the USA by IFC Films on April 1st 2022.
Cast and characters:
Iwan Rheon … Adam
Tom Cullen … Lucas
Catalina Sandino Moreno … Eva
Will Kemp … John Wickes / Crow
Steve Saunders … Tongue Drummer
Inès Spiridonov … Chloe
1 hour 29 minutes