The Barrens - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Barrens Reviews

Page 1 of 5
Super Reviewer
April 23, 2013
Stephen Moyer(Bill from "True Blood") stars here as a father who wants to go on a family camping trip in New Jersey to spread his fathers ashes, and hopefully get closer to his family as they continue to grow apart. When they arrive at the woods weird things begin to happen, and he becomes distant and psychotic. Is it him? Or is it the New Jersey Devil, a bigfoot like myth that may or may not be true. Part psychological thriller and part monster movie, "The Barrens" is entertaining, yet not a very good movie either. It has it's moments, and I'd say it has more going for it than against, but something about it just didn't click with me. "The Devil" looks neat, but I've seen much better creatures in these type of movies. The acting is just OK, and the gore is good, but it never had me fully engaged like this movie hopes the viewer to be. If your into horror, then give it a chance because it may work more for you than me. Otherwise, I'd say just find something else at Redbox(where I got it), because there is a lot better out there.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2012
Unlike everyone else I've talked to that has seen The Barrens, I enjoyed most of it and the ending could have been much worse. For a B-movie, it's not bad at all. The film follows a family as they camp throughout the Jersey Barrens for a family weekend away. The family quickly runs into what the dad thinks is the Jersey Devil, a famous legend supposedly living in the barrens. The rest of the family thinks the dad is hallucinating, but he is convinced the Devil is really hunting them. When the Jersey Devil is actually shown, it looks surprisingly great; I also loved the campfire scene where the kid was explaining the story of how the Jersey Devil came to be a legend. The Barrens was only brought to my attention because I live in New Jersey and have always been interested in its folklore. Luckily, The Barrens could have been much worse and turns out to be one of the better B-movies around. Final score: 6.5.
½ April 24, 2016
The Barrens is a horror that thinks it's a drama.

A family of four head into the New Jersey forest, and run into a monster from the American folk legend: The Jersey Devil. It touches on some satanic plot devices, bad witch stories from the Salem days, and kids telling campfires stories about garbage they read online. Normally I wouldn't trash a movie for trying (and this one certainly does), but the problem with this film is that it's SO badly acted.

The father, played by Stephen Moyer (of True Blood fame) is the only actor with any real experience. Sadly he doesn't bring any of that to this film. He starts as a distant, derelict, and somewhat dead-beat father, trying to reconnect with his son and daughter, and quickly devolves into a madhouse drunkard possessed by abstract visions and nightmares. He never once comes across as father, and acts like a genuine jackass throughout the movie. His new wife doesn't do a very good job at being amicable but the children... my god these two kids are the most annoying poorly devised children you've ever seen. They are what baby-boomers must think Millennials must speak like. The dialogue that is regurgitated out of their mouths, makes one gag at the very thought that someone put pen to paper and devised this film. Every second on screen is an agonizing display of ineptitude, that makes you weep for the future generations of young actors. I never once felt like they were a family, nobody showed any genuine affection or love towards each other, and every scene is a lost opportunity to make a genuine film.

The most effort they put into it was with the monster, which sadly remains elusive throughout the film until the very ending. It almost makes it worthwhile until the screen lingers just a little too long and you can see the seems that connect the cowl to the rest of the body.

Nothing makes up for the clumsy acting and direction of this film, and you shouldn't bother. Badly Acted Drivel.

1.5/5
August 28, 2015
It's clearly visible through its poor cinematography and script that The Barrens is a low budget movie. Yet there is still some good horror elements and scares to make it suspenseful and enjoyable.
½ August 22, 2014
*There are no spoilers here-however there may be teases to certain scenes prevalence to the movie's over all effect on the viewer. No statement leads to any obvious details of this movie*

"The Barrens" is a psychological thriller/horror film directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and stars Stephen Moyer, Mia Kershner, Erik Knudsen, Allie MacDonald and Shawn Ashmore. The film focuses on a family man trying to strengthen the bonds with with his wife and children by returning to the great outdoors to the place he spent his childhood vacations- The Barrens, home to the Jersey Devil. The film deals with some very troublesome issues that many families face these days- disconnection from one another. In the world of high speed lifestyles and digital personalities there is nothing more alien than those we share blood and shelter with. Sometimes we are aliens even to ourselves in this new global stressed world. So why not get back to nature, back to basics, and back to the birthplace of evil and legend?! A very dark emotional set up that just spirals deeper into the void of despair.

"The Barrens" is a double fake out film. It is common in a lot of horror films where the audience is set up to believe then question one outcome of the plot only to have those very answers we seek to be simple distraction as we are lead back into a different synopsis. Sometimes it works in cinema and sometimes it just pisses the movie goer off never to see another film that vaguely resembles the premise. This time it works. There are no major trick story moments where your forced to decide whether what you see is real or not. You clearly know that something is deeply broken in the main character played by Stephen Moyer. What is left up in the air is the question of just how deep those breaks go. Also the film keeps a dark and sinister air about it from start to finish. There is no moment of rest where humor or comfortability takes over the story. It is steady as you go right up until the final tragic moment.

The ending is pretty killer in the fact that the whole time you are pointing blame in one direction for the nightmare unfolding, you soon become aware of the truth of the story. Is the Jersey Devil lurking in the thick pines of The Barrens or is it a more natural relatable killer at work? The film is really genius in the subtle way it plays with this "ever guessing" style of story telling because it doesn't force you to think one way or the other. The movie just carries you along for the ride into a chilling thriller. There are no really big scares or shock moments in this film but then again the movie didn't need them. I wouldn't go so far as to call it full on horror but it is a great suspenseful thriller.
Matt S.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2013
The Barrens took a promising premise and did nothing remotely interesting with it. The film had some suspense, grisly but off screen deaths and a likable cast. The result though came up very generic, slow moving, underdeveloped and dull. There were absolutely no scares, terror or entertainment value to this picture, making it one of the weakest horror films of 2012.

The film stars Stephen Moyer from the True Blood series and Mia Kirshner from The Black Dahlia. They play Richard and Cynthia Vineyard who go on a camping trip with their kids, but soon their trip takes a sinister turn when mysterious vanishings and death follows them. Richard is convinced that it is The Jersey Devil that has been after him since he was a little boy and paranoia soon takes over when no one believes him. I thought the performances were lackluster and has a botch script that brought the flawed film down even further. The characters were underdeveloped and didn't make me give a damn about their story and what happens to them. It's a shame because they are likable actors in an unlikable film.

Director, Darren Lynn Bousman is becoming a hit and miss filmmaker, although it's not as bad as 11-11-11, The Barrens is by far his weakest effort. I did not like his filming style in this movie; it came off as uninspired and amateurish compared to his many superior efforts such as Mother's Day, Saw III, and Repo! The Genetic Opera. He is capable of so much more than this flat, made for SyFy channel movie. The writing and filming was just lazy to me. Hopefully it's a hit next time because he definitely has it in him.

Overall, the poster is more interesting to look at than watching the actual film. The premise and leads alone may keep you intrigued for the most part and has a twist or two towards the end, but The Barrens is as tedious as they come. Disappointing addition to the horror genre.
January 13, 2013
Had me enjoying myself right up until the end, when we get a second twist, which wasn't nearly as good as the first twist - nor was it needed. Stephen Moyer did a fine job, as well.
October 23, 2012
The Barrens is literally a beat away from being a small-but-highly functional horror movie until one strange decision causes the whole thing to descend into unintentionally comedic territory. Seriously, the ending is ridiculous in the worst kind of way.
½ October 9, 2012
I did thoroughly enjoy The Barrens, but it suffered from several flaws, some of which I won't reveal because they are integral to the plot. Directed by Darren (Saw II) Lynn Bousman and featuring Stephen Moyer from True Blood, The Barrens is a fairly well made little horror film that follows one family as they go camping in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, the supposed home of the legendary cryptid called The Jersey Devil. Moyer's father character becomes increasingly convinced that the Jersey Devil is hunting his family, but the audience remains uncertain whether he is right or whether he is merely paranoid. The Barrens blends in real family drama with its slowly rising sense of dread. Ultimately, certain effects do not quite come off, and the ending seems a bit lame, but otherwise it is a solid bit of horror.
½ April 24, 2016
The Barrens is a horror that thinks it's a drama.

A family of four head into the New Jersey forest, and run into a monster from the American folk legend: The Jersey Devil. It touches on some satanic plot devices, bad witch stories from the Salem days, and kids telling campfires stories about garbage they read online. Normally I wouldn't trash a movie for trying (and this one certainly does), but the problem with this film is that it's SO badly acted.

The father, played by Stephen Moyer (of True Blood fame) is the only actor with any real experience. Sadly he doesn't bring any of that to this film. He starts as a distant, derelict, and somewhat dead-beat father, trying to reconnect with his son and daughter, and quickly devolves into a madhouse drunkard possessed by abstract visions and nightmares. He never once comes across as father, and acts like a genuine jackass throughout the movie. His new wife doesn't do a very good job at being amicable but the children... my god these two kids are the most annoying poorly devised children you've ever seen. They are what baby-boomers must think Millennials must speak like. The dialogue that is regurgitated out of their mouths, makes one gag at the very thought that someone put pen to paper and devised this film. Every second on screen is an agonizing display of ineptitude, that makes you weep for the future generations of young actors. I never once felt like they were a family, nobody showed any genuine affection or love towards each other, and every scene is a lost opportunity to make a genuine film.

The most effort they put into it was with the monster, which sadly remains elusive throughout the film until the very ending. It almost makes it worthwhile until the screen lingers just a little too long and you can see the seems that connect the cowl to the rest of the body.

Nothing makes up for the clumsy acting and direction of this film, and you shouldn't bother. Badly Acted Drivel.

1.5/5
March 22, 2016
The Blair witch with action.
November 16, 2015
A weird story of a witch in the woods that bares no resemblance to what actually happens in the film as a father loses the plot in the woods with his family. I lost the will to live
½ November 10, 2015
A very interesting movie that explores the horror of the psyche of a deteriorating man.
Through the film it is never clear whether the monster is in the forest, or in the mind of the man
A very enjoyable film to leave the viewer clinging on till the end and constantly questioning the mental state of the protagonist, thus: the legitimacy of his story
½ November 4, 2015
Jenny Schecter (of the L Word) should not be in this....
October 26, 2015
Nobody is making it out of that sucker alive. Here's a different type of monster slasher. You don't even see who the Jersey Devil for a long time in the film. The movie cuts the BS, but seems to have a lot of pointlessness, you don't know what the director was trying to go for with the making of this film. You're just left confused and kinda like WTF the whole movie. The rabies angle was poorly used to show a dillusional father. Like who would ignore a bite that was getting worse for days upon days? And it's kind of obvious that it was rather, but seemingly the father was oblivious about his own disease.

There's about a 5 minute clip after the credits that possibly had enough of a story to lead into a second film, that as of now has yet to happen.
October 9, 2015
It wasn't absolutely terrible.
August 28, 2015
It's clearly visible through its poor cinematography and script that The Barrens is a low budget movie. Yet there is still some good horror elements and scares to make it suspenseful and enjoyable.
½ August 28, 2015
Although the story isn't compelling, the directing and cinematography of the movie keep viewed hooked to find out the ending to the Jersey Devil curse.
August 18, 2015
OK you guys you know how im usually blunt. This movie was a knock out. I have never seen Stephen Moyer give a better performance. The supporting cast was wonderful the cinematography was off the chain. In the story left this predictor clueless until the end!!!! From the moment that started to the second ended it had me on the edge of my mattress!
June 21, 2015
Was this meant to be scary???
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