Daniel Cruse’s review published on Letterboxd:
Midsommar is a folktale wrapped in a nightmare and soaked in sunlight to an uncomfortable degree. It was supremely well shot, topping even the work of Ari Aster’s last film, Hereditary. Florence Pugh, William Jackson Harper, and Will Poulter give great performances, Florence especially impresses here in the incredibly emotional and tortured role that she plays throughout the film. The tone is perfectly unsettling, though the movie doesn’t ever really become “scary” for me but I was very disturbed for most of the runtime. It’s a rarity to be relieved walking out of a horror movie and seeing that it is nighttime out, but the movie was somehow so much more unsettling in daylight and the lighting was used very effectively.
Where this movie doesn’t quite live up to the heights of Hereditary is mainly in how Midsommar is paced and one specific character that I could not care about in the slightest no matter how hard I tried. Christian, the boyfriend of Dani, is so irritating and frustrating, and I understand that the movie doesn’t want you to like his character but when you devote so much screentime to this annoying man, it becomes tiring after a while.
I believe this movie did not need to be 2 hours and 20 minutes long, On this first viewing, I would’ve called this a masterpiece had the story been paced slightly better with some of the runtime trimmed down because I love slow burning movies but even I thought it was dragging ever so slightly during the middle of the third act.
I’m only nitpicking here because everything else about this film was so masterfully done. It’s uncomfortable and thrilling, really well acted for the most part, although admittedly I didn’t care for Jack Reynor’s performance in this film. I loved the horror elements, though they are sometimes few and far between as the more overtly terror inducing scenes are often spread apart and it takes time to get there. It’s also really funny at times.
This movie will likely be far more divisive than Hereditary among general audiences. If you’ve seen A24 horror then you kind of know what to expect, but this is the “most” A24 that I’ve see any of their horror movies turn out and that kind of works against this film because I feel like Ari was almost trying to just make this movie as inaccessible as possible. Still really enjoyed it despite some flaws and I will look forward to a rewatch in the future but I’m in no hurry to go through the experience of seeing Midsommar again anytime soon.