Midsommar is a folk horror film, the latest movie to be both written and directed by Ari Aster, whose previous film Hereditary (2018) came out last year to much acclaim. The movie follows a group of Americans who have been invited to the homeland of their Swedish friend, Pelle, to partake in their annual midsummer celebrations.
The focus of Midsommar is the relationship of the main character Dani (Florence Pugh) and her emotionally checked out boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor). Dani was not originally even told about the trip, but because of her recent traumatic experience, she is reluctantly invited. The rest of the group is comprised of Christian’s friends who—with the exception of Pelle—hold a thinly veiled animosity towards Dani.
I wouldn’t say this movie is scary—I don’t even think it was really meant to be—I would say instead it is traumatic. Everything that happens is very plainly foretold, either by images or said as jokes right before they happen, and yet they are all so outlandish you still find yourself surprised when they happen. What this movie does so well is be incredibly unsettling. Midsommar is beautiful, filled with flowers, dancing, a never setting sun, and bright scenes that contrast to the blood and cultish activities.
I think the most unsettling part is *spoiler* how the cult indoctrinates both Dani and you as the viewer. The main group partakes in hallucinogenic tea fairly early on and the way the movie is shot, with breathing flowers and tilting camera angles, makes the whole thing seem like a fever dream. All this leads to you cheering on Dani’s liberation, as well as the murderous cult who facilitates it.
Overall Rating: A-
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