STREAM QUEEN: Barbarian, Mummy Dearest, and Unhuman

Halloween is behind us, and it’s back to basic horror while I’m busily finding Christmas horror to cover for 2022 on the side. So let’s get into this trio I checked out on HBO Max and Prime.


Barbarian is as frustrating as it is fun.

It’s a pretty simple plot complicated by time jumps. It starts off with edge-of-your-seat tension. A young woman comes to an Airbnb she rented only to find there’s a guy already staying there (Bill Skarsgard).

The main girl seems very cautious and smart at first…and then proceeds to make every absolutely stupid decision a character possibly can in a horror movie. We’re talking discovering sleazy secret rooms behind hidden passages and then continuing to travel even farther into them rather than get the fuck out of there, which eventually lands her in a hellish underground lair.

Meanwhile, Justin Long also ends up at the Airbnb, and before long he’s in a similar predicament.

The upside of the film is that it is fast-paced, super suspenseful, and uses first person perspective in the dungeon-like basement, which gives the illusion of found footage even though it isn’t.

On the other hand, we are delivered one red herring after another, most of which not only disguise the most simple and obvious of explanations for what is going on in that basement, but which also end up leaving the film with some glaring plot holes.

But you just have to let that go, because the final act is a great, wacky denouement. The horror ends up on the streets of a forgotten town—a moment that felt reminiscent of playing a Silent Hill game.


When I see names like Lou Ferrigno, Michael Pare, and Tara Reid as top billing on a horror movie, I’m so there…and so assuming they’re going to be in the movie for like five minutes.

Mummy Dearest proved me right.

Michael Pare appears briefly as a chiropractor at the beginning. He gives a woman an adjustment and paralyzes her in the process.

The woman goes to live with her daughter and the daughter’s weird, Jesus looking boyfriend, who seems to be on drugs.

But it’s the mother’s medication which causes hallucinations of a mummy woman around the house. This is mostly a movie about the mother rolling her way around in a wheelchair being paranoid.

There are also some weird insights into the boyfriend’s past as the mother, a hands-on healer, does sessions with him. Why can’t she just heal herself while she’s at it?

Actually, her touching therapy brings out all the boyfriend’s dark experiences as a child, which is where Ferrigno and Reid get their cameos—and where the weird story of the mummy that barely appears in the movie comes into play.

To be honest, this isn’t even much of a horror movie.

UNHUMAN (2022)

Brianne Tju (the I Know What You Did Last Summer series, the Light as a Feather series, the Scream TV series, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged, The Crooked Man) is becoming quite the scream queen as she headlines yet another horror flick.

A good chunk of Unhuman is a kick ass zombie flick. Brianne and her high school friends (and enemies) are going on a field trip, and we get The Breakfast Club vibes on the bus as clique lines are drawn, the in crowd and out crowd are clearly defined, and the man chaperoning the students brings some humor as an inappropriate ass hole.

Then the bus crashes. A radio report warns of a chemical attack, and a zombie comes knocking on the bus window, kicking off a nonstop chase scene as the kids escape the bus, end up in an abandoned building, and are endlessly pursued by relentless zombies. These fuckers will just bust through walls and shit. Eek!

The movie sucks you in with its heart-pounding pacing, and then…takes a turn that ensures that it isn’t just another zombie flick.

And there lies the problem. The unexpected plot elements are so out there, leave a bunch of plot holes, and desperately try to help the audience make sense of it all with excessive exposition through dialogue that basically explains the whole purpose of the script—including all the social commentary about bullying that is blatantly presented from the start and needs no explanation whatsoever.

It was quite a disappointment to be so enamored with the horror journey this movie was taking me on and then having what could have been a distinctly refreshing take on the zombie genre get crushed by the weight of its effort to be unique. Even so, I would highly recommend checking it out, because when it’s good, it’s really good.


About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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