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There’s Something In The Barn – Fantastic Fest 2023 (Film Review)

3 min read
There's Something In The Barn

This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn't exist.

Halloween is on the horizon and yet some people's minds are already fixated on mistletoe, baubles, and the dreaded last-minute rush to grab gifts for relatives. That's right, is only a stone's throw away and it's a holiday that goes hand-in-hand with – both literally and in the film genre.

When thinking of a festive flick you might immediately be drawn to Home Alone, Elf, The Muppet Christmas Carol, or stone-cold classic It's A Wonderful Life, but there are plenty of terrifying horror offerings about Ol' Saint Nick and his bloodthirsty elves to chill you to your bones. This year's had a number of murderous merry movies screening across the week, including ' hilarious Christmas creature feature There's Something In The Barn.

After inheriting his uncle's estate in Norway following his mysterious death, Bill (Martin Starr), his second wife Carol (Amrita Acharia), and children Lucas (Townes Bunner) and Nora (Zoe Winther-Hansen) move to the picturesque small town. They struggle to adapt to their new Scandinavian lifestyle and yearn for their home comforts back in America, leading to tensions as the holidays approach. Lucas discovers an elf living in a barn on the property, who he learns he must appease to keep harmony between human and elf-kind. However, simmering tensions boil over into an all-out bloodbath when Bill ignores Lucas' warnings and hosts a wild Christmas party in the barn, setting in motion the elves' plot to get rid of the humans at any cost.

A bizarre love child of Gremlins and Krampus, There's Something In The Barn sees humans break rules of the utmost importance when dealing with unruly, chaotic creatures leading all hell to break loose. The film perfectly takes dark, brutal scenes of violence, wraps them in slapstick comedy and tops them with a bow of witty one-liners for a real gift of festive fun.

And if there's one film you need to watch to start feeling warm and jolly, it's this one. Despite the horror laced through the narrative, the Yuletide spirit runs through every single scene adorned with string lights, baubles, snows, and a soundtrack chock full of cheesy festive odes. It's garish, twee, and works brilliantly with the off-kilter plot that finds laughter in the most ludicrous and macabre situations.

Beneath the blood and humour is a whole lot of warmth as the central family learns to put aside their differences to fight for each other. While we don't dive too deep into what makes each character tick, there's something for everyone to relate to, whether that be the goofy dad who loves his children with every fibre of his being, to the teenage daughter juggling changes in her homelife and socialising within a new city. The stereotypes are nothing groundbreaking, but they're fun and lovable in a narrative that challenges everything they hold dear.

There's Something In The Barn has all of the ingredients to become a future holiday favourite among both horror fans and general audiences alike. From its gaudy exterior to its heartfelt innards that tiny, menacing elves want to gouge out and display like a festive wreath, it's an enjoyable romp that is sure to get any Scrooge in the Christmas spirit.

There's Something In The Barn screened at on September 23. It will have a UK Theatrical and digital release on December 1.