Midsommar ★★½

For more explanation: reelybernie.com/2019/07/04/a-cult-theme-gone-sour-in-midsommar/

There’s no doubt Ari Aster has an eye for dread, and I mean that as a compliment. He initiates a foreboding tension through abrupt shot transitions, a moving camera that actually goes behind the doors with all the weird, cultish stuff going on, and a grueling buildup that occurs right before the movie’s first big shock.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say it’s too bad things take a ruinous turn during the infamous 72nd birthday scene for a lucky couple. It is here that the American characters lose all brain function and any semblance of human dignity (Aster must think very poorly of Americans). No matter how much I want to suspend disbelief and go with Aster’s vision, I cannot believe for one instant that a human being – even with the lowest of ethical, moral, or instinctual value – would not get the hell out of there right then and there. (Maybe the movie should be renamed, My Thesis on Swedish Cults or My Life.)

But, the idiot Americans stay, and we’re treated to a good ole torture fest and another Ari Aster movie with a promising first half and a bloody dull second half. It’s too bad. What was an engaging focus on human trauma becomes a play pin for cultism for the sake of cultism and a lot of Clive Barker-esque flesh obsession.

Is Midsommar entertaining? That adjective cannot even be associated to this movie. Is it horrifying? A bit. Is it intriguing? Yes, I felt like Larry David and John McEnroe in “The Freak Book” episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm – you can’t look away! Is it long? Unfortunately and brutally, yes. The editing room could have easily cut 30 minutes. Is this a perfect example of a 2 ½ star movie? Absolutely, and Terry Gilliam would disagree (reelybernie.com/2019/05/17/how-i-rate-the-movies/).

Midsommar is my new Deliverance: Like the backwoods of Georgia, I will not be visiting the grasslands of Sweden anytime soon.

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