Dereck’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like everyone else, I’m definately going to need to sleep on this for the next few days/weeks/months. I loved the first half of this movie so much (to the point that I began to think it may be better than Hereditary) but the second half was just a little too much.
Florence Pugh provides not only her best performance, but also the best performance I’ve seen so far this year. She truly shines here and I really hope that after snubbing Toni Colette last year, the award circuit will recognize Pugh. I do wish that we would see more of her character in the last half of the film, but I understand how the story had to focus on other events. Her dance sequence will no doubt be one of my favorites of the year.
When I spoke earlier about the second half being too much, I’m primarily referring to the scene with Christian while Dani completes her Queen duties simultaneously. This is a problem I had with Hereditary where Ari Aster is trying too hard to give the audience that shock that they will continue to talk about after the film ends. It’s just grotesque and doesn’t contribute much to the story, especially when this scene was foreshadowed in the very beginning.
There is no denying that the craft Aster and his team have is ridiculously high quality. The cinematography, editing, and overall direction make these films so much more than a typical horror flick. The way the camera just follows the characters around and even puts you in the same mindset as them with the use of VFX is incredible. I felt like I, too, was on a trip. A few shots that come to mind include when the group is riding in and we are upside down for nearly an entire minute, when the group walks through the woods to the festival (a nod to The Shining’s opening), and the final shot interlacing Dani and the burning temple.
All in all, I’m going to need to digest all that I’ve seen and maybe on a rewatch I’ll be able to catch a few other details. For now, I’m going to watch some YouTube videos for others’ interpretations.