Midsommar ★★★★½

Scavenger Hunt 52 - #5 - A film you think would be PERFECT to see at a drive-in theater.

"Welcome, and happy Midsommar. Skål!"

Midsommar might take the flower crown for the most uncomfortable movie-going experience I've been through. It's a supremely disturbing and shocking picture that I guarantee you aren't ready for, no matter how much you think otherwise.

I still haven't been able to shake this film's effect. It's certainly gotten under my skin and I can't imagine getting over it any time soon. Stepping out of the theater to a clear blue sky and a blindingly bright day felt distressingly surreal and made me desperately long for a rainy atmosphere or even the slightest overcast canopy to shield me.

A lot is going to be said about Midsommar in the coming weeks. It will sicken and offend audiences everywhere and it's almost destined to eclipse the reputation of its audaciously bold--and flat-out fantastic --predecessor. With yet another confident outing, Ari Aster's command over story is unmistakable. That said, it's his impeccable visual craftsmanship here that steals the show.

Aster once again rightly puts his faith in a superb cast. Florence Pugh is particularly stellar here. She's a true talent whose work here elevates everything around her. Her anxiety in this is palpable. During the movie, I genuinely wondered if she was okay after filming this.

The sun-soaked splendor of the Swedish countryside (as presented through some stunning cinematography) is a sight to behold and that Aster is able to imbue such an idyllic and picturesque setting with relentless unease is downright eerie. This might be the most horrifyingly pretty flick I've ever seen. When it swerves into the terrifying, it leaves a haunting impression. Believe me when I say that the horror imagery in this is, for better or worse, pervasively unforgettable.

If you were put off by Hereditary, run for the hills (any that don't happen to be in Sweden, anyway) and cast Midsommar out of your mind. Bask in your decision to never seek this out. If you find yourself in the camp that yearns for ballsy, original storytelling with no lines it won't obliterate, let alone cross, enjoy the festivities.

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