Midsommar is a folk horror film written and directed by Ari Aster and starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, and Will Poulter. It follows a group of friends who travel to Sweden for a festival that occurs once every ninety years and find themselves in the clutches of a pagan cult.
The Story/The Direction:
This film is Aster’s follow up to Hereditary which was an amazing horror film (review here). As with that film, the direction, cinematography, attention to detail are off the charts. This film is about the horrific aspects of a breakup, loss, and depression, obviously taken to an extreme level. This film has a lot of similarities to the previous film from how it deals with fears. These fears have no cure or solution and are things a lot of people have gone through.
This film starts off with a very tragic event that puts our main character, Dani (Pugh) through that traumatized her. She is also in the midst of a rough patch with her boyfriend, Christian (Reynor). His friends (Harper, Blomgren, and Poulter) do not really like her and he’s trying to find a way out of the relationship. However, he does not want to break up now because of the event that occurs at the beginning of the film. He and his friends decide to go on this trip to Sweden and when Dani finds out, she is hurt but she sort of invites herself along. This is where the film starts to take off. Aster slowly introduces the Harga who are seemingly peaceful until Aster shows the audience an Attestuapa ritual. It's absolutely horrific and each moment after this event gets creepier and creepier. This film has no jump scares but there are moments that’ll put chills down the audience's spine. Additionally, Aster is able to touch on themes of women empowerment, death, aging, and breakups over the passage of time and the cycle of seasons and how people change. Aster even ties in a lot of homages to other horror films such as The Shining and The Wicker Man, both the original and the remake.
The Acting/The Characters:
It is a very dark time in Dani's life and she really has no one to turn to. This all changes when she visits Sweden. To go much more into her character is honestly spoiler territory however Pugh is fantastic here and the rest of the supporting cast is very good as well. The Harga's movements are very interesting to see. They move in a way that corresponds with their emotion. When they are sad, they feel it all through their body and when they are happy. This is shown multiple times throughout the film. Not much is gone into why this is but it is still very interesting to see.
The main flaw is how similar this film is The Wicker Man. It is hard to tell if this film is supposed to an almost direct homage or just lazy writing. In this aspect, it thus lacks originality even though there are a lot of original ideas. For bad or for good, the characters are only in this story. The audience does not really get much of their life outside of this story. There are flickers of it with some of them wanting to write dissertations on the Harga but that’s it. Why bring this into the story for some characters but not others? There are also a few scenes that do drag at times.
This film was a great time. It was creepy and horrific. It doesn’t rely on jump scares rather its themes to scare you. Aster has a theme that is beautifully written into the film though there are some issues with the overall writing. Hereditary is perhaps a little better because it felt more true to the horror genre. However, this film is still very good. The score is beautiful and the attention to detail is amazing.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties.
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