Midsommar ★★★★½

Ari Aster’s second feature after the well crafted but highly overrated “Hereditary” is a big step up in my book. If “Hereditarily” was Aster’s take on Polanski (particularly “Rosemary’s Bany” and “The Ninth Gate”) than the influence this time (and one of my favorites) is 1973’s “The Wicker Man”.

Initially the film put me off with it’s blackly and bleakly tragic opening. One of the things I strongly disliked about Aster’s previous film is it’s dourness throughout and it’s relentlessly bleak feel throughout. I feel Aster learned his lesson because after the shocking and unsettling set up the film breathes a bit. Essentially, when a tragedy happens to Dani (Florence Pugh) she hops a flight to Sweden with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Rainor) and friends  Josh (William Jackson Harper from TV’s The Good Place), Mark (Will Poulter), and Swede friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren). Pelle invited the friends to go as it is there once in 90 year festival of his people. That is not the whole story of course. When the friends get there things are weird immediately and only get weirder (with menacing implications). 

There’s some shocking things in this film but I found this to be a more accessible film than “Hereditary”. However, there’s mood changes and that means there’s time for a little bit of levity. I think it’his film will mean different things to different people but thisfilm does take you on a journey about relationships and the horrors of humanity. If you can get past the tragic and bleak beginning you may find yourself enveloped in this strange film. It might even be a new tradition.

Michael Offerosky liked these reviews