Barbarian Director Zach Cregger Says ‘Elevated Horror’ Is a ‘Useless’ Term

Barbaric quickly caused a stir when it arrived in theaters in September. The film is unexpected in every way, leaving audiences guessing what might happen next. The film, directed by Zach Creggerstars Bill Skarsgård, Georgina Campbell and Justin Long as they each navigate the horrors of a Detroit home with a dark secret.


Barbaric primarily focuses on Campbell’s character as she arrives at an Airbnb that appears to have been double-booked with Skarsgård. As the mystery of the house begins to unravel, audiences may be truly scared as Cregger manages to subvert expectations at every turn. His film has been compared to other “high horror” films such as Hereditary and get outeven though the director says he hates using that term.

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During an interview with Talk about cinemaCregger discussed Barbaric, on whether he considers the film “high horror” and why he thinks people don’t appreciate the genre when they say that.

“I feel like the term ‘high horror’ is for people who don’t know much about horror. It’s for people who see horror as an inferior genre. Like, ‘I don’t like horror, but I like high horror. I like Hereditary and Get Out.’ By the way, I worship Hereditary and get out. But I also worship evil Dead I-I because it’s a fantastic movie. I don’t care where we land on the horror spectrum versus “high horror” because I just think that term is unnecessary.

Related: The Barbarian Director Gives a Disappointing Update on the Possibility of a Prequel and Sequel


Barbaric Don’t fear the gore

Unlike some “high horrors”, Barbaric isn’t afraid to be macabre on screen. The film features gruesome scenes deaths, and Cregger recognizes the difficulty of including them. He tells Discussing Film that it took a few years to get Barbaric on the big screen, because Hollywood doesn’t like to take big risks when money is at stake.

“It took several years for someone to sign up for Barbaric“, explains Cregger. “You know, it was not just the badness – it was the structure. I think people were very excited and I understand that if my job and my livelihood were at stake, I wouldn’t want to take a lot of risk. That’s what Hollywood is, the risks are bad.” Cregger continues, saying he’s glad someone finally took a chance. Barbaric. “It’s business. So a movie like this is not an easy yes. And I don’t think people are stupid to pass it on. But I believed inside. So I’m just glad someone finally agreed with me.”

Barbaric premiered in theaters earlier this year and arrived on September 9. The film performed exceptionally well considering its budget, grossing $43 million against an estimated production cost of $4.5 million. Although Barbaric is no longer in theaters, fans can check out the movie as it is currently available to stream on HBO Max.