Written & Directed by: Ari Aster
When I heard Ari Aster had a new horror movie coming out, I was excited, especially since he described it as a companion piece to last year’s Hereditary. While I didn’t want to go in comparing it too much to last year’s hit, I still had high expectations.
Following a heartbreaking family tragedy, Dani (Florence Pugh) tags along with her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), and his friends Josh (William Jackson Harper), Mark (Will Poulter), and Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) to an idyllic commune in a remote part of Sweden to experience their mysterious summer solstice festival. The longer they stay, however, it becomes more evident that there is a more sinister meaning behind the celebration.
This movie is nearly TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG and my goodness, it does not need to be. A slower pace can work in creating an unsettling, suspenseful tone (it was super effective in Hereditary), but it this movie goes beyond that, and it’s not like the plot is complex or dense enough to warrant that long of a run time. The movie has serious Wicker Man vibes-the 1973 one, not the baffling 2006 remake (although weirdly enough, this movie also has a man in a bear suit). That’s partially good-both films have these hauntingly beautiful soundtracks and a unique aesthetic for a horror movie-but Midsommar doesn’t do anything particularly new or creative with the “unsuspecting outsiders are lured to a strange, rustic community for nefarious purposes” plot, despite having a ridiculous amount of time to do so.
Fortunately, this film gives us a lot to look at over its long run time; it is absolutely gorgeous. Midsommar is full of creative editing and camera work and beautiful set and costume design. Even the gory parts are fascinating. The cast is solid too; lead Florence Pugh is easily the standout, although Will Poulter gives an enjoyable performance as well, despite his character being a one-note frat bro-type.
While I was mostly underwhelmed with this movie, I would still watch it again, just to see if I missed any interesting details or clues in the lush visuals. If you were curious about Ari Aster’s style after hearing about Hereditary’s success but aren’t a huge horror fan, Midsommar might be worth checking out- as long as you have a decent amount of time to kill.
Have you seen Dead Don’t Die? Well, what did you think?