Reviewed on Cinema Eclectica.

Or: Blood on Satan's Bore. Considering the whole point of "elevated horror" is that it should bring more thematic meat and character depth to the table, it's impressive how stonkingly awful Ari Aster is at both of these things here. Poor Will Poulter is stuck playing the kind of grating one-note comic relief role that a traditional slasher would at least kill off early, while Florence Pugh's considerable efforts as Dani are consistently undercut by the script. The very un-elevated horror Kolobos knew that having a heroine on anti-depressants was the kind of plot point that needed to be followed up; the supposedly more mature, character-driven Midsommar lingers solemnly on Dani's medication bottle at the start then never goes back to it. Like her bereavement, it's a signifier of significance. Once Aster has used it to persuade you that this is serious business, it's served its function.

The film's idea of horror is weirdly childish. The bone-deep sense of the eldritch and forgotten that should power folk horror is completely absent here. Instead we get Aster's trademark squeamishness around nudity and a character's disfigurement being milked for shocks in a manner that a Hills Have Eyes sequel would consider unacceptably cheap. I can understand some of the pleasure others have got from this, but I can't share it; the score by Haxan Cloak provoked irritation rather than terror in me, and though I can see why people have read this as a black comedy I didn't find it funny either.

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