"There's Something In The Barn"
review by Annabella Rich
"There's Something In The Barn" will be in UK Cinemas & available on digital download from 1st December!
There's Something in the Barn' is a fun Christmas comedy film with 'Goosebumps'-inspired horror elements. It presents a unique story and features interesting, exaggerated characters that interact well with one another. The film has its highlights; it is beautifully shot and succeeds in making the audience laugh on multiple occasions. It flows nicely, includes well-executed wrap-around moments, and boasts a great premise. However, despite delivering some incredibly funny moments, certain elements fell flat, leaving more to be desired.
The film's opening is quick but effective. Personally, I wished for a greater focus on stunts and intensity in this opening scene, but it served its purpose with exciting elements, such as the tire swing and glowing red eyes! It established the presence of 'something in the barn' while perpetuating the previous owners' poor decisions. I personally hoped for a more intense opening scene for the audience than what was delivered, as I believed this would have offered a nice juxtaposition to the 'all-American' typical dysfunctional family in the next scene.
I loved the moose scene that followed, providing a great introduction to our main characters and their family dynamics. The first half-hour of the film did have me wondering to what level this horror would go to and if it was more kids’ horror than teen/adult. I’m still undecided. The story itself flows nicely and engages the audience. Unfortunately, some dialogue fell flat or over-explained itself, and some information could have been conveyed in more simplistic ways especially towards the end. Sometimes, the audience doesn't need excessive explanations, and these moments occasionally broke the flow when watching the film.
The world was established nicely, and the isolation the family experiences is portrayed effectively. The representation of the town was done carefully but in a very comedic tone. It was enjoyable to see our lead family make some questionable decisions while trying to fit in! The scene in the barn, where they invite the town over, was a favourite of mine. It was beautifully set dressed and contained many enjoyably funny moments. It shows the annoyance of the barn elf strongly too; we are watching a kettle about to blow with this character. It had me wondering as an audience member how far he was going to take things and what strength this creature had; we knew things were about to kick off. This leads me to another favourite moment, where they try to escape in the car, and the creature screams. The sound design on this is gorgeous, and the outcome of the creature is hilarious but threatening also, making it one of my favourite moments of the film.
Despite the characters playing archetypes, I wish there had been moments of realism and better decision-making as the film progressed. I would have appreciated some extra depth to the lead family; for example, I was rooting for the mom during her Christmas Eve meltdown—it was the only time we saw the real her! The lack of depth to the characters and constant poor decisions made me not root for them as much as I would have liked especially towards the end. During the fight scenes, the characters didn’t seem as If they were fighting for their lives, and I wish the dialogue scenes here had been executed in a more realistic way especially after getting that brilliant moment of the mother’s false shell breaking. However, the acting was great, and I feel like this was more of a script issue.
Overall, the film was a fun watch, and I would recommend it, but I wish it had committed fully to the horror elements and character development especially when the comedy was delivered so beautifully. The film went quickly, and I found no moments to drag. It tells you exactly what it is from the first ten minutes, and you get what you bargained for – a fun, holiday themed comedy horror. I would rate the film a 3.5 out of 5.