Midsommar ★★★½

Unsettling and darkly funny, Midsommar really impressed me, despite not scaring me. Maybe it’s just me and the horror genre, because while I definitely found some scenes in this disturbing, it felt more like a surreal character/relationship drama than anything else (I really wouldn't consider this a horror at all). That’s thanks in large part to a terrific performance from Florence Pugh. She’s been fantastic is pretty much everything I’ve seen her in so far, and her portrayal of a depressed, nervous and worrisome woman in a dying relationship really keeps you invested, even during some of the much slower scenes. Jack Reynor is perfectly opposed to her, passive aggressive and lazy, making the relationship feel doomed, but also real. You feel like there was once something there, but it’s chances of rekindling are as hopeless as the film’s plot. As it develops, and their personalities and relationship are altered forever, you aren’t sure whether it’s a good thing or not. Throughout, there are subtle hints of danger that grow in frequency the more we watch and discover, and while the payoff may not be ‘hide behind the sofa’ frightening, it will unsettle you the more you let it play on your mind. 

All of the detail Aster includes does mean that the film takes its sweet time. I didn’t mind too much, because the shots, characters, situations, colours (pretty much everything) was just so interesting. It captured and kept my attention, even if I wasn’t entirely sure I understood what was happening. I do wish some more time had been spent exploring Dani’s (Pugh) inner feelings - it’s definitely there, but for a two and a half hour film I still found myself wanting to have seen more of it examined. I see why some may find it tedious or self indulgent, but the world being created and shown was so outlandish and intriguing that I can overlook those issues. A very good follow up effort to Hereditary a film I also thought was very good, if not quite great. I wouldn’t say I’m on the Ari Aster hype train, but I do think he’s a terrifically confident director, and knows how to keep your attention. If you’re looking for straight scares, this ain’t for you - something a bit more surreal and ominous? Look no further.

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