“Midsommar” is the newest film by Ari Aster, acclaimed director of movies like “Hereditary” and “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons.” Now if there’s one thing about me, it’s that I’m depressed. More importantly than that, I absolutely loved both of the movies I just mentioned. I thought “Hereditary” was a perfect combination of supernatural horror and family drama, mixing the genres so well that the tragedy itself adds to and becomes a part of the horror before the actual horror even begins. With “Midsommar,” Ari Aster does something similar, starting with a family tragedy and eventually infusing it with the cultish horror that you came for.
Listen, I don’t want to give away too many plot points; this is a film that greatly benefits from you going in as blind as possible. What I will say is, like “Hereditary,” “Midsommar” looks absolutely beautiful, if not more so. From the dark, dreary opening, to the gorgeously sunlit greenery, this movie made me think to myself, “now this is why I love movies.” I mean, the opening alone, right before the end credits, was mesmerizing and had my eyes glued to the screen; I only wish my butt was glued to my seat because I had to leave every 20 minutes to pee. Rest assured however, I didn’t miss much, because luckily the bathroom was right next to the theatre.
Now you might be wondering, “just how scary is this film?” Like “Hereditary,” this movie creeps along at a slow, methodical pace, becoming increasingly more disturbing to watch. In my opinion, it’s never necessarily scary like “Sinister” or “Insidious” is, but the disturbing antics and actions that take place throughout the movie do make for an uncomfortable experience. “Midsommar” deals with real life horror. Suicide, break ups, and loneliness are all topics that are touched upon. And that’s what I love about Ari Aster. There isn’t a working director today who can portray grief so effectively. You’ve seen tragedies happen in other movies, but you’ve never seen them portrayed so horrifically. When a particular thing happens in this movie, seeing how a character reacts to it is a gut punch. I mean, it’s scary to watch because of how realistic it is. “Midsommar” blends the horror of family tragedy with the horror of a primitive pagan cult to perfection. It’s a fantastic combination, one I never thought I would see, let alone enjoy watching.
And like I mentioned, when the pagan cultic shenanigans happen, your jaw will drop. I could feel the tension in the theatre when the first “big” event happened. The suspense in the air was thick. I won’t get into exactly what happens, but it’s certainly worth the wait to get to it. Yes, this is a long movie, but it’s never boring. It’s always beautiful to look at, and there’s always something interesting happening.
A technically amazing drama, “Midsommar” is a gorgeously thought provoking film. This isn’t a movie for everyone because of its uncomfortable subject matter, but I do think it’s more of a crowd-pleaser than “Hereditary.” Unlike that movie, in “Midsommar,” my packed theatre legitimately seemed to enjoy the movie, even if they were saying things like, “that was the weirdest f**king movie I’ve ever seen.” Look, I really loved this movie. It’s not conventional, and it’s not what modern audiences will expect from a horror movie released in 2019, but I for one cannot wait to see it again.
9 out of 10