Kyle Bailey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Can't wait for the D- or F cinemascore
Oh Ari Aster, you fucked up man! I'd kiss you on the forehead if I could! Hereditary was my second favorite movie of last year and truly messed me up with the thick level of dread seeping into my veins about having me cuddle into my neck pillow the entirety of that movie. I left my pillow at home and survived because the consistency of that dread wasn't totally here but I had some aftershocks of that dread throughout. It's a mesmerizing and deeply unsettling in all the best ways anchored by another tour de force performance from one of my favorite actresses, Florence Pugh. She keeps knocking it out of the park and if she doesn't have an Oscar in the next 5 years something is wrong. What she conveys in the final sequence without uttering a word is just stunning and breathtaking. Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, William Jackson Harper, and Vilhelm Blomgren are also great as the friends of Pugh that go to Blomgren's Swedish hometown that is performing Midsommar rituals that turn out to be quite fucked up while the Swedes just think it's a beautiful annual event. Some of the ideas are thoughtful about why live your life suffering and just call it quits at 72 while your ahead but jumping off a cliff to your death in front of your village and not guaranteeing it'll do the deed and having to have three people wack your face in to finish it off? I don't think so! Ari is such a skilled filmmaker with this being his only second full length feature doing beautiful things with camera movement similarly to David Robert Mitchell with It Follows and Under the Silver Lake and his mood and ambiance of dread is unlike anything I have felt while watching a movie. He is not here to scare you, he's here to get under your skin and while it is not consistent as Hereditary due to it's dragged out run time that usually is not an issue but here I think he could have condensed the first section of village life a little more, he still succeeds. I recommend not seeing this with a big crowd especially full of the horror fuckbois and gals who's horror IQ's only commute to dumb shit like the Annabelle movie playing down the hall that may have suited them more with cheap jump scares and gore porn like a Saw movie because many of them audibly were displeased during and after the movie that they felt cheated like any A24 Horror movie that goes wide or they just walk out and have to have a discussion about how it sucked on the way out in the middle of the movie. Like truly go fuck yourself and enjoy Chris Rock's Saw movies nobody asked for (I guess I actually know!). They're also a bunch of virgins apparently too because they were shrieking in horror and laughs at the site of a plus sized and older women naked. Like grow up! I will say this movie does have lots of great dark comedy but the immature sheeple that go to horror movies opening previews are not the ones to experience this movie with. Gorgeous production design, cinematography, and costumes and a haunting score. I also loved the Swedish woman who was kind of the Emcee who looks like a Swedish Katharine Hepburn, Gunnel Fred. She has that similar devil with a smile demeanor to Joel Grey's Emcee and even Gig Young in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Stunning work and among my favorites of the year so far just with a slight pacing issue.