melanie mazzarini’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Do you feel held by him? Does he feel like home to you?”
If y’all have been around for a bit - you know damn well how much I hate Hereditary. So some good news! I enjoyed this more than Hereditary! But I find myself sitting here with more issues than praise. But I’ll try and hit y’all with the praise first.
Technically and stylistically, this piece is amazing. Aster understands his medium and pushes it to the limit each time - the film encapsulates you into the acid trip of the characters, blurring together several objects while keeping the story in line. He has such an immense precision for detail - truly a master at incorporating the smallest of things. Amazing use of production design, light, and props. Amazing.
Also, FLORENCE FUCKING PUGH. An ANGEL ! This performance is devastating - she does what she was meant to do. I am almost certain that this film will put her on the map. I felt very connected to her character throughout. It was cathartic.
Unfortunately, my praise stops there. So here’s some complaints (spoilers ahead probs):
-Is anyone ready to discuss Ari Aster’s obsession with objectifying disabled people or are y’all not ready to have that conversation yet? None of it fucking sits well with me and if it wasn’t noticeable in Hereditary, it’s sure as hell noticeable in Midsommar where a disabled person exists in 3-4 scenes for shock value and to be mocked as a product of incest. Do better Ari. Do better.
-I firmly believe that Ari Aster understands grief and trauma but I don’t think he knows what to do with it in stories. It goes nowhere and feels like trauma porn. He doesn’t create tension with it, the audience is just simply meant to grasp from the first 5 minutes of this film that the relationship is spiraling and assume the worst. I just think if you’re gonna write your stories around trauma as the integral core, go somewhere with it.
-Entirely self-indulgent. So much of this is just people running in fields while tripping out, as if looking for a progression in story or waiting until the beautiful sound design of screams kicks in again. Had things been less self-indulgent, this film would’ve been 30 minutes shorter and paced much better.
-The cult isn’t creepy. They’re not scary. Nothing about them is creepy. If you know me, you know I’m a firm believer in the fact that horror films don’t have to be scary to be good horror films. But how are you gonna ride on the creepy, cult trope when your cult is just a bunch of cheesy braids and white gowns? Idk man.
I’ll probably have a million more thoughts on this come tomorrow. Overall, I’m just really glad this film didn’t leave me with the immense hopelessness and despair I felt for weeks after seeing Hereditary (a movie you should never watch in a depressive state). I’ll probably deliver a sermon on Twitter about this tomorrow. Thanks for reading if you did.