With the release of a horror film coming from the backs of A24, it’s always going to lead into divisive opinions amongst every person that goes into them expecting something different. It happens every time. The feeling was with Midsommar before watching it when you just know this wasn’t going to be a traditional horror film that not everybody will get first hand.
What’s the Story: Dani (Florence Pugh) has just suffered a family tragedy in her life. Just as her boyfriend was about to break things off with her, Christian (Jack Reynor) decides to invite her on a trip to Sweden with his friends for a midsummer festival in hopes to make her feel better. What was supposed to be a fun trip that’s meant to be relaxing turns into a weird trip as they find themselves in the clutches of a pagan cult.
If you were a massive fan of Aster’s last film Hereditary, then the chances of having the excitement over the writer/director’s sophomore effect would be pretty high. For me, I not in that large group of people that loved Hereditary; it was good, but not the best horror movie of 2018 to freak out over. That being said, I was very curious to see his next project when Aster described it as “a breakup movie,” and I didn’t know what to think after witnessing the trailers.
Aster clearly took a lot of inspiration from The Wicker Man. The original, not the ultimate guilty pleasure remake with Nicolas Cage. And what I mean by that is that this will also make people staying the frick away from cults because that’s usually a sign of evil, right? What seemed to be a mixture of that and last year’s remake of Suspiria, but not as bone-chilling. But his direction stood out the most with its cool transitions and pretty unique camera movements.
I enjoyed all of the performances, especially from Pugh. Honestly, I can’t believe she’s my age: 23. Seeing any moment that shows that she has gone through stages of sadness or feeling scared, she owns it. This is nothing that it would be an Oscar potential, but it should be noted that she’s still amazing. The rest of the supporting cast like Reynor is one of his better performances in a while, The Good Place‘s William Jackson Harper as the one writing his thesis on his experience there, Will Poulter to give the movie some levity with a bit of humor, and Vilhelm Blomgren as Pelle, who was raised in the community and knows the ways of what’s going on.
Pawel Pogorzelski’s cinematography truly shows off how beautiful Sweden is, and the fact that a majority of the film takes place outside in the bright sun. But even I know that this doesn’t mean it won’t go in the right direction since it’s a horror movie.
Just like with Hereditary, this offers no real jumpscares, thank God. I’m glad for that because these of the kind of horror movies that don’t need that jolt to make people afraid. But some distributing elements happen that I didn’t see coming. I was thinking this was going to be more disgusting from what people were saying when this was coming out. Shocking? Kind of. It also deals with somebody dealing with grief in an unsettling way for both main characters that are very tragic in every sense.
Problem wise, aside from what I said about some disturbing images, the pacing near the end of the second act was starting to feel a bit slow, which is saying something since it wasn’t feeling that long for 140 minutes. And then I still not quite sure how I felt about the ending. Probably not something that will amount to polarizing opinions, but it was the kind that made me go, “Yeah… meh?”
Midsommar won’t go down as the most memorable horror movie to come out this year; that’s probably still going to Us so far. However, it’s quite disturbing and runs a tiny bit long. Though the praise should easily go to Aster’s beautiful direction, the cinematography, and Pugh’s performance. This is definitely not for everybody, and I can most won’t like it, but you’re the kind of person that likes artsy horror movies, then the chances of loving this won’t be a concern.