One of the most infamous scenes in Barbarian could have been more gruesome. Zack Cregger’s Barbarian follows the lead character, Tess Marshall (Georgina Campbell) as she stays at an Airbnb in Detroit, only to discover the horribly disfigured mother (Matthew Patrick Davis) who lives in the cavernous depths below. Barbarian is one of the most acclaimed horror films of 2022, with one of Barbarian‘s most notable and infamous moments when the mom tried to breastfeed Airbnb owner, Hollywood actor AJ Gilbride (Justin Long).
As horrific as Barbarian’s breastfeeding scene is, it could have been worse. Writer-director Zack Cregger revealed in an interview with Yahoo! entertainment that he had originally written that the mother chews a rat and feeds it baby bird style to AJ. Although that part of the scene was cut from the finished version of the film, its intent still fits in Barbarian‘s message about monstrous abuse.
Why The Mom Tried To Breastfeed AJ In Barbarian
When AJ arrives at his Airbnb in Barbarian and discovering that Tess is being held captive, he discovers that the mother has adopted them both as her children. The mother first tries to give AJ milk through a bottle, which he refuses. The mother, who has videos of breastfeeding instructions playing in another room, does not heed AJ’s rejection and drags him away to forcibly breastfeed him.
The mother is also a descendant of the home’s original owner, Frank, a sexual predator with a long history of rape and incest. Meanwhile, AJ is smitten with a rape charge by an adversary on his show, with his own feeble defense strongly implying his guilt. With the Mother being born as a result of one monster’s predatory activity, AJ’s vigorous breastfeeding thematically changes the roles of another’s crimes – AJ is also later brutally murdered by the Mother during the ending of Barbarian.
Why Zach Cregger Cut The Rat Scene In Barbarian
As for the original version of the scene where AJ is literally fed a rat, writer-director Zack Cregger explained that he initially Barbarian‘s script for fear it would rip Justin Long off the film. As Cregger explained, “I was like, ‘When he gets to Bulgaria, I’ll see if I can talk him into it. And so I tried to cut it very subtly. … And he said, ‘We must do that. That’s what we should do.'” Although the scene was filmed, it was ultimately not shot in Barbarianwith Long revealing in an interview with Vulture“Zach got that out. He had the feeling it was a bridge too far, roughly speaking.”
In the end, BarbarianThe breastfeeding scene itself is horrific. With the success of the film, a possible Barbarian a sequel or prequel would be the best place to push the line further, although even there something like a potent rat food would really cross the line. Meanwhile, the behind-the-scenes story of just how much worse the film’s breastfeeding scene could have been — and the possibility that the mother may have been doing other vigorous breastfeeding and rat feeding off-screen — all that much more. Barbarian an even scarier horror movie.
UP NEXT: The Best Box Office Trend of 2022 Is Huge for the Future of Horror