Midsommar ★★★★½

Ari Aster has something new to bring to horror once again. His trademark seems to be in the shape of emotional baggage. Or even just temperance in loss. In Hereditary it’s inherited from family and in Midsommar it’s chosen via relationship. (Basically, Aster better be working on a complex horror take on friendship or I’ll be shook.)

This is the psychedelically-fueled horror folk-tale you never knew you needed. From the films opening sequence you get a tone that rings throughout the rest of the narrative. It’s not your average horror venture by any means. The perpetual day bleeds into the story, making for less pulse-pounding terror but more highly horrific imagery. It’s an interesting trade off that keeps Aster from rehashing anything quite like Hereditary, although there are still some slight similarities.

Some of the best editing and cinematography this year. For what was a very slow burn, the editing process and set/locations really carry your focus. The precise movements have actions feeling more like rollercoaster rides than just simply movie going. It makes the horror experience soak in the tension. What makes this film really work is not knowing where it’s going to take you.

The script is fascinating. I love how unpredictable it managed to keep itself. It’s got a real personal touch with it’s emotional punches and it never holds itself back. Obviously it’s well-known that Aster based this off of a relationship, but Jesus could you imagine what that must’ve been like? Especially with the strange cult setting, it makes you wonder if this is some satirical interpretation of religion mainly Catholicism (like in The Wicker Man) or if it’s using that as a backbone to attack the ‘sanctity’ of the highest evolution of a relationship; marriage. 

Fantastic cast brings this terrifying pagan cult to life. There is some odd and trippy choreography that is pulled off fantastically. Florence Pough really shines on the screen and this has definitely elevated her status in Hollywood I’m sure. The rest of the tourism squad was pretty great (minus an annoying character interaction or two), the real talent is once they get to the Midsommar ceremony. All these side characters and eccentric weirdos make this feel all too real. It’s like I’m almost sure that this really happened, and this is just one of the best shot docs.

Terrifying composition that keeps you on edge when it comes up but majority of the film relishes in it’s somber silence. So when the rollercoaster starts moving and a score starts kicking itself up from around you, it’s that foreboding that keeps you dead. I love how the score transitions between the lighter tones and darker ones. Part of the tone feels so uplifting, but when it changes you can feel it in your bones.

*The Wicker Man was a great inspiration to this piece and I think the two pair together beautifully. 

Midsommar is a horror treasure for the decade. We haven’t had a horror film quite like this in a long time, it feels fantastic and absolutely horrific. I think I’d see myself falling in love with this one on repeated watches!

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