Midsommar ★★★★★

96

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A Midsommar's Nightmare

Ari Aster has proven that he is a masterclass of genre filmmaking. Between last year's Hereditary and this year's Midsommar, he is continuing to display his prowess as an exceptional storyteller. They aren't the kind of stories you just sit back and watch; but rather tense and nerve-racking character studies that build their tension on intricate human drama mixed with spiritual and cultural undertones.

That spiritual theme carried over from the demonic to the angelic with Midsommar, a white-bright, full daytime horror fare that is less terrifying than it is straight-up genuinely distressing. The opening scene, setting up our protagonist's psychological state, hits you like a freight train- laying out all the emotional destruction that our heroine endures to push her into this trip of a lifetime.

It's abundantly clear that Ari made this film while going through a breakup, as he stated. The obvious emotional abuse and manipulation perpetrated by both Dani and Christian throughout the story bring their relationship and its structural integrity into question multiple times- and brought me back to past relationships and their diabolical undertakings on more than one occasion. Compound that with the frequency of humorous dialogue- which some might misinterpret as poor writing- but these moments are 100% intentional. Its incredibly tense and outright disturbing climax is also fraught with an overload of emotional catharsis- wild, animalistic, and ritualistic wailing that synchronizes in downright hilarity to the point where you wonder exact where Aster's state of mind was while he was shooting these scenes.

Although Aster has stated that he would be moving on from the horror genre, I believe that there could be an excellent third entry in the horror vein of Midsommar and Hereditary to create a loosely connected trilogy of sorts. Relationship dramas overflowing with tense, atmoshperic horror that revels in absolute insanity in their third acts. Perhaps that's too much to ask for, but I'm not quite ready for him to move onto another genre. He's just too good at displaying his own storytelling with some unrelenting form of emotional tension and release that I haven't found anywhere else, creating two of the greatest pieces of horror this decade.