Midsommar ★★★★½

No love greater than pubic hair exchange...

Ari Aster swiftly returns while continuing to explore cults, intense trauma, and the deconstruction of relationships, and the effects of grief. This actually shares ample parallels with last year’s Hereditary both in themes and even progression of the plot, however while I loved Hereditary, this film is done substantially better in my opinion. 

Right off the bat this opens with an anxiety filled scene of severe tragedy, understanding of mental health issues, and even effortlessly establishes a toxic relationship. All of this misery is perfectly placed during a winter snowstorm making the story’s transition to a summer setting all the more effective. The bright setting of the pagan commune of Hårga is a fresh new setting for a horror movie, complimented by washed out cinematography. This style works wonders for capturing the feel of this drug trip dreamland of folklore terror, along with the superb shot compositions and architecture. Topped with an atmospheric score by The Haxan Cloak that fits the mood perfectly. Traditional practices of the cult for the midsummer festivities go from a fascinating exploration of an obscure culture to a beautiful, floral nightmare. 

Florence Pugh impresses imensesly with her vicious emotional journey as Dani. Each moment she is on screen her trauma is understood fluently. As she goes through damaging disorienting drug trips early on to experiencing a reminder of her past through ethically controversial cult ceremonies to even finding a sort of grim therapy through it all. There is some pretty decent dark comedic relief to this intensity with her boyfriend Christian, portrayed by Jack Reynor, and his friends. Christian in particular is the absolute caricature of a shitty boyfriend and a douchebag friend yet it still manages to get the point of toxic masculinity. Plenty of creative and honestly gorgeous gore filled death occurs, turning bodies into nature’s art. The conclusion is beyond satisfying, leaving me in a state of grim laughter, hypnotized by the poetic imagery, and even filled vicious joy.

Don’t piss on trees ever again...

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