Nostalgia is big these days with any number of films or TV series going back to simpler times. In terms of horror films going back in time generally this means a certain style of film and in the case of The Barn its a trip back to campy ’80s fare. Due to the proliferation of ‘way back’ films it is now a risk to make these films if they aren’t done right or at least in the right spirit. Thankfully The Barn just about gets everything right and even when it doesn’t it is still entertaining.
Starting with a prologue (don’t they all) in the fifties (yep two time periods for the price of one) and its on Halloween that the children are told not to go near the barn. Of course kids being the disobedient a-holes that they are end up at the barn and do the things they aren’t supposed too. We get a short introduction to the monsters, a quick but ballsy kill (the killing children taboo is thrown out early) and we are whisked to thirty years in the future to Nineteen eighty nine. We join Sam and Josh, two friends that have been tight since day one. Sam loves Halloween a little too much for an older kid but his enthusiasm for the day is infectious. After running a foul of his Dad who tells him to grow up, Sam, Josh and their crew decide that they’ll go to a rock concert and create one last memorable Halloween night. Of course, our crew runs across the titular barn and this is when the fun begins.
The monsters in the barn are really great practical creations at a time where horror monsters aren’t really being created. The Candy Corn Scarecrow, Hallow Jack and the Boogeyman all are cool creations in their own right and each with their own ‘abilities’. It’s silly but it works so well within the context of the film. The creatures are a lot of fun and whilst the aren’t scary, they are certainly creepy looking.
The heart of The Barn is the characters. We have a whole list of regular characters you would find in an eighties film and everyone plays their part earnestly. We spend a lot of time with the two main characters Sam (Musolino) and Josh (Stout) and get a look at their friendship and it really starts paying off especially toward the end of the film, where the film really straps its eighties aesthetic to its chest and that includes the ‘buddies taking down creatures’ trope. The music is also perfect, just spot on. Yes, the acting has some problems and yes the writing has some problems but the way director Justin Seaman runs the show, (including some really excellent shots) these problems disappear into the fun of film. The Barn is well crafted throwback that is genuine in its love for the time period, it is entertaining and fun as hell.
The Barn is available for purchase here.
Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78