2022 Horror Movie Reviews: Barbarian / The Innocents / Watcher

One unlikely hero this week.


HOLY SHIT! What would you expect from a mainstream super R-rated horror movie written and directed by one of the former Whitest Kids U’Know? The answer is something a little tamer than Barbarian, which I’m still in shock that a major studio got made. Maybe it’s the soaring success of handing over complete control of the asylum to other comedians turned filmmakers (Jordan Peele) that made them feel they could really let writer/director Zach Cregger go hog wild. I’m so incredibly glad they did because what we’re left with is an absolutely insane, high-paced, legit suspenseful, well-acted fun thrill ride that offers a twist of sorts every 20 minutes or so. If you think I’m going to tell you anything about the plot of Barbarian or what actors are in it, you’re crazier than the plot itself. Go in as blind as you can and strap in for an hour and forty-five minutes of something that will both terrify you and make you laugh till your stomach hurts. Sure, there are little things I’d tweak here and there, but that’s not the point of something like this. In true Malignant fashion, Barbarian‘s entire existence is because modern audiences are completely honest with themselves on what they want to experience in a mainstream horror movie. It’s WTF cranked up to 11. If you can handle this sort of thing, mad dash to your local multiplex. Grade: B+ (In Theaters)

The Innocents

Profoundly disturbing and odd Norwegian chiller about telepathic, and in some cases sociopathic, kids in a lower-income housing project who get together and move shit with their minds and hurt a few people and animals (MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING). There isn’t much context given as to why these kids have telepathic abilities or why some have more powerful ones than others. The 7 to 8-year-old protagonists are actually trying to figure it out for themselves. The Innocents never dips during its almost two-hour runtime and features some really fantastic child acting, however, there are times when it feels like it’s cynical and twisted just to be cynical and twisted. It seems to be missing an important layer of context as to why this movie was made but also why our characters are experiencing what they are experiencing. It hints at some commentary around violent crime as it pertains to poverty and certainly different institutionalized racism elements, but none of that ever bubbles up to the surface. The film is too all-over-the-place to coherently drive any of these points home, so what we’re left with is viewing it totally at face value. It’s a well-made film with some good acting and serious chills, but at the end of the day it feels rather empty. Grade: B- (AMC+ / Shudder)


Chloe Okuno‘s Watcher is a slow burn to a fault in that it’s so technically sound and clearly understands how to ratchet up, sustain and pace out tension, yet so drawn-out and long we often forget it’s a thriller in the first place and feels more like a kitchen sink documentary about an American living in Romania. That’s all fine and good but either 1) pick a lane or 2) find a way to more harmoniously marry the two. The always underrated Maika Monroe (It Follows, The Guest) plays Julia, a former actress who gave up on her dreams to move with her hunky Romanian husband to Bucharest for his lame-ass corporate job. He sticks her in the apartment alone all day like she’s some purse dog, and the loneliness is getting to her. As luck would have it, there’s a serial killer going around stalking and decapitating women and Julia begins to feel like she’s being stalked by a man who lives in the apartment complex across the street. All the dudes in her life think she’s crazy and begin gaslighting her, but she insists someone is following her everywhere. She befriends an erotic dancer who maybe believes her, but her husband and his snooty-ass European friends think she’s a total kook. I checked the runtime progress of this movie no less than nine times, which is a surefire sign that something is scientifically and objectively boring. It’s a shame because there are so many stalking sequences that are so well directed and shot and made all the better with Monroe’s subtle expressions of fear. Sequences that have you on the edge of your seat just to sink back into the depths of your couch when we get another pedantic husband/wife argument. “You think I’m crazy.” “This is my job, honey!” “I want to go home, answer the question – you think I’m crazy.” “***long pause*** Uhhh nooo honey, I don’t.” Jesus Christ, we’ve heard it all before, trim Watcher down to a 40-minute short, and Okuno has really got something. As it stands, there are too many movies that glide from scene to scene to waste your time with this lethargic mess. Grade: C+ (AMC+ / Shudder)

Also Streaming or In Theaters


On the Count of Three (C+) – Hulu

Star Time (B-) – Tubi

Prey (B) – Hulu

Bodies Bodies Bodies (B-) – In Theaters

Nope (B+) – In Theaters & $19.99 rental on Amazon

Elvis (B) – HBOMax

Licorice Pizza (A) – Amazon Prime

The Black Phone (C+) – Peacock

Cha Cha Real Smooth (B) – AppleTV+

The Bob’s Burgers Movie (B) – Hulu and HBOMax

Jurassic World: Dominion (D) – Peacock

Malignant (A+/F/Whatever) – HBOMax

Moonfall (A+/F/Whatever) – HBOMax

Crimes of the Future (B-) – $5.99 rental on Amazon

The Northman (B) – Peacock


The Rehearsal (A+) – HBOMax

Only Murders in the Building (B+) – Hulu

Better Call Saul (A) – AMC+

Black Bird (B+) – AppleTV+

Stranger Things (B) – Netflix

Barry (A) – HBOMax

Severance (A-) – AppleTV+

Pachinko (A-) – AppleTV+

Yellowjackets (A-) – Showtime

Heartstopper (A-) – Netflix


Franchise with Me: The Hannibal Lecter Series w/ Shawn Collins

Franchise with Me: The Chucky Movies w/ Michael Palladino

Franchise with Me: The Leprechaun Movies w/ Ben V.

FREDDY’S NIGHTMARES w/ Audrey Farnsworth


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