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Why Keith Had To Die In Barbarian (& What Happened To His Body?!)

Spoiler Alert: This post contains spoilers for Barbarian.

Content Warning: The following article contains discussions about sexual assault.

BarbarianThe most shocking moment is the violent abrupt death of the character Keith, but his hair-raising ending is a crucial piece of the puzzle to make the film work as a whole. Keith is staying at the Airbnb when Tess, the lead actor, arrives and finds them double booked, a pivotal situation that keeps the film’s first act tense and unpredictable. The very purpose of his character is to have you question his motives and worry about Tess’ security chamber with an absolute stranger – until he meets his horrific fate.


An integral part of the original song-and-dance is the actor in the Keith character Barbarian is Bill Skarsgård, who played the famous Pennywise in It and It: Chapter Two. This casting choice plays on the public’s preconceived notions of what Skarsgård has done in previous works, tipping the scales towards suspicion for his role in Barbarian. Those expectations are later ripped from the audience in a graphic and unexpected sequence in which The Mother (Matthew Davis), barbarians monstrous killer, kills Keith in front of Tess (Georgina Campbell). The shocking scene is needed to clarify the film’s theme and message, and to establish The Mother’s reasons for her actions and reactions to men.

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Related: AJ’s Scene With The Mom In Barbarian Could Have Been Worse (Yeah, Really!)

The Mother Didn’t Trust Men In Barbarian (For Good Reason)

BarbarianThe theme and true message is conveyed by Justin Long’s character, AJ, who loses his acting career and image after sexually assaulting a female opponent. It is also revealed that The Mother is one of several victims of Frank (Richard Brake), the serial rapist and kidnapper who kept generations of his inbred rape victims in an underground tunnel system beneath his home. As a result, The Mother is particularly hostile to men during the conflicts in the film.

The sum of BarbarianShare comments on the mistreatment of women at the hands of men. The mother becomes increasingly violent with AJ during his escape towards the end of… Barbarian and immediately kills Keith after a scuffle that bit him while fleeing the tunnels. On the other hand, when confronted by Tess, a woman, she is protective and sees her as the baby she protects from the dangers of men. This distaste for men and affection for women is further evident in her fear of approaching Frank’s side of the tunnel and her sacrificial dive from the water tower to rescue Tess after AJ pushes her away.

What did the mother do with Keith’s body in Barbara?

Moments after Keith’s horrific death, Barbarian turns away to AJ’s storyline days later. By the time focus returns to the tunnels, Keith’s body is no longer visible. In an interview with ColliderJustin Long jokingly noted that there must be a space for the bodies somewhere in the tunnel. Maybe a sequel or prequel to Barbarian can go into the actual disposal method, but it would make sense that The Mother has a way of dealing with corpses. There appear to have been a number of previous Airbnb tenants and previous generations of Frank’s victims murdered in the lower levels of the dungeon. Keith’s body must have been groomed off-screen in one of the many passageways, pits and caves underground.

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