Midsommar ★★★★

Mr. Aster has solidified himself at the forefront of the new generation of auteurs, his modus operandi being classified as tragic and visually inventive expressions of grief through psychological, atmospheric horror.

Midsommar is no sophomore slump, it's the offering that proves that A24 is onto something and there's a great career lying ahead of us. It's a consistently mysterious slow burn thriller with elements of true shock and terror. More of a mushroom-fueled daylight slasher that reels you in with its incredibly solid opening act, only to have you swept into a new environment where it feels like anything could happen.

The visuals are excellent if not always super obviously formulaic, including a flipping and careening tracking shot of the drive into camp that utterly disorients you. The eye-popping color palette and production design amplify and heighten the mood throughout.

As a downside, I think this film is a bit too long, and though the slow pacing completely works throughout the majority of the first and second acts, there comes a point where the stakes are suddenly raised quite a bit, seemingly giving into the ultimate downward spiral, only for the next 20+ minutes to be back to the slow build, wherein tension is now broken because we're fully aware of the possibilities.

Then comes the ending, which is rather glorious if not given the pedestal of unexpectedness it deserves. It also asks a lot of questions about the film's more thematic intent. Personally, I can't seem to find any obvious answer about what this film was really trying to say, and that would be fine if Hereditary wasn't so decipherable, as well as much of this film's context giving you ideas to consider, before not giving you the ultimate framing and consequences.

I could go much farther into what I thought this was about, but I wanted to leave this spoiler-free.

I will admit that this is a film that will likely turn plenty of people off, but I found it to be an excellent addition to the genre and one of the best of 2019.

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