Written by Aleksander Kirkwood Brown, “There’s Something in the Barn” is a riot, particularly in the first two-thirds when the family is acclimating to their new northern lifestyle. It is refreshing to see a film about an American family (even if there’s only one actual American actor in the whole film) moving abroad that features smart, accurate, and very specific cultural jokes without resorting to stereotypes.
The portrayal of the small Norwegian town is authentic, and hilarious, with Brown taking jabs at the more obvious tropes — Norwegians loving cross-country skiing, Scandinavia having the happiest people on Earth, their obsession with the Oslo Peace Accords — but also more specific ones that take on an extra level of funny if you’ve ever spent time in or around Norwegians (but still make sense and work for all audiences) like the power of porridge to solve any problem, lutefisk being the devil food, and how Norwegians only become friendly once alcohol is introduced.
As the family tries to adapt to the new culture, Bill’s son Lucas (Townes Bunner) discovers an ancient elf living in the barn next to the house. Like “Gremlins,” the elf has rules you need to follow. If you do, it will help out around the house, cleaning the snow and keeping up the farm. But when Bill ignores his son’s warnings and throws a party in the barn, the elf brings along some friends to get rid of the humans, no matter how much blood needs to be shed.