REVIEW: There’s Something in the Barn

Something in the Barn

Tradition dictates that Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill for all men. European folklore would tend to disagree, usually violently.

There’s Something in the Barn is a festive horror-comedy that follows in the bloodied, snowy footprints of Krampus, in which an oblivious American family fall prey to a very different sort of Christmas spirit.

Having inherited a remote house from an estranged uncle, the Nordheims – ineffectual dad Bill (Martin Starr), wife/step-mom people-pleaser Carol (Amrita Acharia), moody teenage daughter Nora (Zoe Winther-Hansen), and young, naive son Lucas (Townes Bunner) – up sticks to the wintry idyll of rural Norway.

Little do they know that the property comes with a prior occupant: a barn elf.

A barn elf can be the perfect house guest, provided you follow some simple rules of etiquette. But, as you might expect, in true Gremlins form, it doesn’t take long for the new homeowners to run afoul of their ancestral tenant, who unleashes bloody havoc.

Half fish-out-of-water comedy, part home-invasion thriller, There’s Something in the Barn is ultimately about the power of family and friendship, and the need for forgiveness – it is set at Christmas after all – but it’s just mean-spirited enough to balance out.

Innocent people, generally guileless Norwegians trying to understand these strange Americans, die gorily and memorably at the hands of malevolent, fun-loving sprites. There is something inherently creepy-comic about a diminutive, red-clad figure out for your blood – “Don’t Look Noel”? – though it’s not until the final act that the movie embraces its full madcap, Looney Tunes potential.

Aleksander Kirkwood Brown’s script is never too cruel or too schmaltzy and director Magnus Martens judges the gags expertly – tree ornament as throwing star! Airborne elves! Renegade moose! Mika Orasmaa’s atmospheric cinematography, variously misty and warm, and Lasse Enersen’s sinister, chiming score are the icing on the cake

There’s Something in the Barn isn’t quite a barnstormer, but it’s certainly a festive treat. Enjoy with a mince pie and a glass of sherry and any kids you may have of an appropriate age. That said, you’re never too young to have a formative horror experience.1

There’s Something In The Barn will be available in UK Cinemas & Digital Download from 1st December (Available to Pre-Order here)

  1. Within reason, please.

Author: robertmwallis

Graduate of Royal Holloway and the London Film School. Founder of Of All The Film Sites; formerly Of All The Film Blogs. Formerly Film & TV Editor of The Metropolist and Official Sidekick at A Place to Hang Your Cape. Co-host of The Movie RobCast podcast (formerly Electric Shadows) and member of the Online Film Critics Society.

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