fajrianur afnan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I love my cult horror films, but that love might've just backstabbed me this time around. Ari Aster's newest work couldn't make it two-for-two for me, it's almost a disappointment tbh. My biggest gripes are that this film lost its shock value wayy too early and it couldn't give much impact in most of its pay offs, maybe it even relied onto its supposedly-shocking turn of events too much that as a guy who's had enough of my share of films with similar theme - the entire third act felt like it doesn't offer much new revelation. Mind you, this film has A LOT of great build up to something sinister that caught my full attention, and yet almost none of the pay off really caught me by surprise, hence my disappointment. Ari Aster has everything on plate, he's SO good at building these sinistet atmosphere in his films, add to that the ever-so excellent Florence Pugh (whose experience already there with her past work, anothet small film surrounding a cult, The Falling) this should've been a banger. But I'm just gonna say it as it is, it felt like Aster was holding back a little, I can see that there's something much much horrifying beneath this and for some reason he just doesn't wanna go balls to the walls enough. Like, I knew these characters were going to meet their demise more or less like that, and somehow I anticipated something more tragic - too bad this just fell short for me, despite still showing its redeeming quality like some well-built atmosphere here and there, and Miss Pugh was as good as she's always been, although in the end her character arc couldn't put out enough impact in me especially after given a really well done telling on her background story in the beginning of the film. So yeah, not the most affecting addition the the sub-genre, nor does it need to be, still this proves that I should reserve my wish for any 'instant masterpiece' on newer directors like Ari Aster just because he's had a home-run on his first swing. The guy's still one to watch.