Film Review – Midsommar

Midsommar (R) 

Director: Ari Aster

Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor

Four and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright 

Prepare to be emotionally tormented yet again by writer/director Ari Aster.

Aster popped out of nowhere and caught us off guard with his nerve-shredding horror film Hereditary, about grief, loss and culty creeps (and a sensational performance by Toni Collette).

His second film Midsommar is another trip down the path of intense horror.

While dealing with a recent devastating family tragedy, the emotionally raw Dani (Florence Pugh) tags along with her dropkick boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his mates to a remote spot in Sweden for a festival.

When they arrive, the traditional events that the villagers act out as part of the festivities turn out to be tough to be increasingly tough to stomach and Dani senses that something sinister is at play.

It is best to keep details to a minimum because the best way to experience Midsummar, much like Hereditary, is to strap in for the ride and be surprised (and horrified) by the dark places that Aster takes us.

midsommar

Now, it is understandable that some people may not want to spend 2.5 hours in state of depression and emotional exhaustion along with Aster’s characters – he tends to throw us in the deep end from the get go so that we are immediately on edge.

There is no relaxing in an Aster film; even when these characters reach their sunny, idyllic destination, the sense of dread is still heavy.

The jumping off point in both of Aster’s films are very similar; characters experiencing horrendous tragedies that we are not sure they could even recover from, but his exploration of grief is effective.

While Hereditary was drenched in gloomy cinematography to add to its creepy atmosphere, Midsommar plays out mostly on beautifully sunny daylight. Aster’s ability to create the same terrifying atmosphere is uncanny.

Midsommar will make you gasp and squirm, and you will likely emerge at the end feeling more stressed than ever before. That is quite a cinematic achievement.

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