Midsommar

Midsommar ★★

Reviewed on Cinema Eclectica #213 - Throat Singing of Terror

The cinematic laxative that is Midsommar (not because it is bowl emptyingly terrifying, but because the film is poo) sees Ari Aster dressing everything in folk horror's clothing. The problem is that Midsommar refuses to have insight into what makes a good folk horror movie. Instead of the cult feeding the tourists human flesh pies, they feed them pubic hair pies. Instead of a small child singing creepy lullabies, here's a group of naked women caressing their tits and throat singing. And instead of threatening and ambiguous sign language, fuck it, let's have the cult's main sign that they have found their May queen be jazz hands. You cannot be serious?

But Aster's defenders will say it's not meant to be taken seriously, there's a string of black humour under the sheen of Midsommar's calculative surface. Unlike Jordan Peele who infuses horror with comedy seamlessly with believable characters you want to root for, Aster's characters are generic slasher stereotypes thrown into an otherwise self-serious elevated horror. For 2-and-a-half hours you have to suffer through the slowest horror movie in recent memory with a group of people who deserve to be killed much swifter.

The more I think about Midsommar, the less I like it. Bless Florence Pugh: she's trying her hardest with Aster's lurid material, the same goes for Will Poulter. Guys, you're not at fault. It's Aster's fault for providing the stupidest genre-twisting I've seen on the big screen in years. Please, I want to see you both in much better projects than this.

You know what? I've been thinking about the directors who have upset us on Eclectica in the past. This list includes, but not limited to - Darren Aronofsky, S. Craig Zahler, Eli Roth, Alex Ross Perry, Anna Biller, Uwe Boll, M. Night Shyamalan, and now Ari Aster. The list of cynical filmmakers is frightfully growing in numbers, and I may have a solution. We should resurrect Alan Clarke back from the dead, send all these people back to film school, and have Clarke rip them and their ideas apart Scum style. It's a stretch, but I think I can get it to work.

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