Midsommar ★★★★

Ari Aster is well on the way to becoming a legendary horror filmmaker. Midsommar is a completely different beast to his debut Hereditary, though Aster has managed to produce another quality film. In many ways, Midsommar is more of a psychological thriller than a horror. It's an unsettling experience with some truly horrific moments but strays far away from generic horror setup.

The film centres around the relationship between Dani and Christian. I was unsure about this at first but it's so perfectly executed. These characters are very well written, pairing this with fantastic performances (particularly from Florence Pugh, who is proving to be a phenomenal actress) makes for a rich, interesting relationship dynamic. Aster slows down the pacing right down here, which is incredibly refreshing to see in this genre. Putting this slow-building relationship drama in the middle of a horror setting works way better than it ought to. The setting is captured superbly by Pawel Pogorzelski's gorgeous cinematography, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere. There's so much to appreciate however, the depth of that central relationship is what really sets Midsommar apart. The subtext isn't shoved in your face, but it isn't complex either. Each element of the film is balanced and comes together satisfyingly.

There are a couple of things that irked me about Midsommar that hold it back from being perfect. The characters make some unrealistically stupid decisions and stop questioning surrounding events about halfway into the film. The ending works thematically but it doesn't have the oomph that I felt it was building toward. I can't help but compare Midsommar to Hereditary, as Midsommar really lacks some of the elements that made Hereditary great. On the other hand, I much prefer the setting and overall feel of Midsommar. I can't wait for Asters next film and hopefully, he combines the best elements of both films to make a true masterpiece.

David liked these reviews