THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE BARN (2023) Review by Steve Kirkham



4 stars
Vertigo Releasing. Cinemas 1st December

There’s something of a sub-genre in horror of Christmas set movies bringing bloody mayhem to the festivities – think things like Rare Exports, Better Watch Out, Krampus et al, often stirring comedy into the mix.

Well you might want to add There’s Something in the Barn to your go to list – an amusing and sometimes bloody trip to the snowy landscape of Norway (supposedly the happiest place on Earth – though I thought that was Disneyland).

Moving from California, as he has inherited his late Uncle’s house and barn in a small Scandinavian community (a relation we saw being killed in the opening sequence), Bill (Martin Starr, Silicon Valley) is driving his children Nora (Zoe Winther-Hansen) and Lucas (Townes Brunner) with their stepmother Carol (Amrita Acharia) to their new residence – much to the disdain of their daughter (you know the usual, missing her friends, terrible wi-fi).

Things don’t exactly start well with an altercation with a moose and meeting the local, slightly inept cop (Henriette Steenstrup) but this sets the initially light tone. They have big plans to convert the barn into a bed and breakfast hotel – however this might not be the best idea when Lucas explores and hear sounds in the outbuilding. Of course his parents don’t believe him that there is something out there.

Visiting the nearby town they aren’t exactly greeted with open arms and whilst there Lucas learns of the Nisse – or barn elf (think garden gnome with an attitude) – and discovers the rules for interacting with these mythical creatures. They don’t like change, bright lights or noise.

Later he befriends the incumbent resident (played by Kiran Shah), plying him with cookies – and in return the little bearded fellow helps out secretly around the property.

Much of the initial film gains it’s laughs from the inevitable culture clash between the American encroachers and the townsfolk but of course, before long, things go off the rails, when Billy and Carol throw a party in their newly acquired large shed to ingratiate themselves with the locals.

Soon all hell breaks out when the angry gnome calls upon his fellow elfin compatriots to attack the family and drive them out. With crazed elves on the rampage things get crazy quickly as the newcomers try to defend themselves. This is an enjoyably demented, sometimes silly escapade, which, whilst not reaching the heights of some of its snowbound brethren is an engaging and entertainingly bonkers comedy horror. Fun festive frights!

Steve Kirkham