Directed & Written by Ari Aster
Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Will Poulter
Music by The Haxan Cloak
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Midsommar follows a group of friends who travel to Sweden for a festival that occurs once every ninety years, only to find themselves in the clutch of a pagan cult.
First of all, I think I was too hard on Hereditary. I didn’t rate it very highly at the time, mainly because I thought the end of the film was a silly mess. However, it starts out great and has what I think will be one of the most memorable & shocking horror movie moments for years to come. And, of course, Toni Collette’s performance was fantastic. I’m loving seeing some serious modern horror with brilliant performances (also loved Essie Davis in The Babadook). So, while I didn’t love Hereditary overall, there was still a lot that I did like about it and I have much more respect for it than for the countless cliché modern horror films that get made.
The reason I bring up Ari Aster’s first feature film for comparison is because I feel exactly the same way about Midsommar. I respect the film, there are memorable shocking moments and imagery, and Florence Pugh gives a great performance. But, overall, I can’t say that I loved the film and the ending is possibly even more of a mess than Hereditary’s.
If you loved Hereditary, you’ll love Midsommar. The themes are very similar and the movies have clearly been written & directed by the same person. Aster is off to a brilliant start with these films and I think he’ll continue to be highly respected in the horror genre if he manages a third film along the same sort of lines as his first two. They’re certainly not for a mainstream crowd, however, and will always be more for the serious “film” fans (I don’t think the audiences I saw these two movies with enjoyed them very much).
I love divisive films, though, especially in the horror genre. I’ll always have more respect for a movie that says “fuck it” and does its own thing than for the boring & predictable ones that push no boundaries. Hell, I loved Mandy but know it’s sure as shit not for everyone. Aster’s two films are the same way so I can definitely understand why he already has big fans of his work even if I’m not yet sure if I’m a fan or not. I really did want to love both of his films and I kind of did at the start of each one. This is something I always moan about when it comes to horror, though. I swear horror movies rarely know how to end. I find very few horror movies have a satisfying ending and Aster’s two films go off the rails a bit too much for me at the end. But I can say that, based on his previous work, I eagerly await his next movie and fully expect to be equally impressed and exasperated at the same time. And, as always, I’ll prefer impressed exasperation over finding a movie just plain boring. Aster’s films are FAR from boring.
My Rating: 7/10
**I’ve had to think about it & let Midsommar sink in for a few days. I fully expected to far prefer Midsommar to Hereditary. I absolutely love the setting and was very much looking forward to a new The Wicker Man (that movie kicks ass). This film looks great, I loved the imagery, and overall I far preferred the look of it to Hereditary. However, I think Hereditary is the better film. I wasn’t expecting to feel that way as Midsommar is more my type of thing. Both movies are intense and leave you feeling quite emotionally drained but Hereditary has an overwhelming sense of dread and fully captures the feeling of grief a bit more effectively than Midsommar. Again, though, both leading ladies give fantastic performances and help elevate these films to something more than just another basic horror movie.
I should also point out that I’m struggling to find the time to write reviews at the moment and have about ten current releases I’ve just not had the energy to review. But I’ve reviewed Midsommar right away, so I guess that says something about it? I have more to say about something like this than yet another superhero movie or yet another animated sequel…