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  • Writer's pictureBéatrice Barbeau

Barbarian ★★★★☆ | Matt's Cats and a Humidifier I should have claimed

Matt was living in a two-bedroom apartment in Leichhardt when a cat came up to his door and made her way in. The next day she gave birth to a single kitten behind his fold-out couch. The fold-out was once Davis’ bed for a week or so. He left his humidifier at Matt’s place after he found a place. I know this because Matt kept threatening to give me Davis’ humidifier if Davis didn’t pick it up soon.

Davis eventually picked up his humidifier and Matt eventually raised the two cats himself. The cutest mother and son you have ever seen. Mama and Finley.

Growing up I was indoctrinated into the anti-cat propaganda that was spread about by Big Dog or something just as awful. I had grown up with a dog, one of those crusty ones that rich white girls have, that age-like mole rats. She was the fricking best.

We were going into the pet store to buy a Burmese cat - an allegedly hypoallergenic cat that would suit my asthma-ridden, hayfever-afflicted sister and I. My mum didn’t want a cat and was trying to further push the Big Dog agenda, I guess she was lucky that day. We got to the pet shop and there she was - Chanel, the cutest dog we ever saw. I was about twelve and I had never had a pet, so yeah, this was frickin awesome.

In 2020 I moved in with Matt and his cats. Mama took to me quite quickly but Finley, her son, was way more cautious. I remember the first time Finley sat on my lap, almost a year and a half of living with him. It was a precious moment and it blew me away. He went from hissing and scratching me to willingly sitting on my lap! For no more than four seconds! This was a huge step.

My friendship with the cats has grown and they have definitely become accustomed to my frenetic, rushed movements which originally were a stark contrast to Matt’s slower, fluid way of moving around the apartment. Even just recently - despite still hissing at my bare feet every now and again - Finley let me pick him up. A huge accomplishment for all involved.

I don’t know if it was a good idea to watch the movie BARBARIAN when Matt is away and I’m all alone watching the cats… Because dear lord was this a scary movie (in the best way possible).

I spent some time distracting the cats from begging for food by limply swinging around the feather attached to a piece of string. Finley’s reaction to the fluttering feather was tense but excited - not unlike me, watching this film. Wiggling my but with anticipation.

This movie is another horror movie that I wish I had a hand in making, the fake-outs, the performances, the lore - it’s all a win in my books. The tension was expertly paced, with an eerie soundtrack that kept my fist tight on the plastic rod that held the string and feather. The thing that sells this for me, is how the film weaves in and out - you really don’t know what’s happening next or who we’re following next. SO beautiful and right - like an animal choosing you, this movie CHOSE ME to become enamoured with it.

The last five minutes were spectacular. The cats are fed. My mouth is agape.

Remembering the shadows and trick of the light down those muddy hallways in BARBARBIAN makes me shiver in my bed as I see Mama’s sparkling eyes down the hallway now, waiting for her 2 am snack.

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