Midsommar ★½

"Aster almost never shows his work. Sure, you get the occasional wide frame suicide of an old person jumping off a cliff onto a rock, which is delightfully grotesque, but by the end of the movie these travelling students are turned into art installations that would fit comfortably on the television show Hannibal, but the scene is missing where they’re actually stuffed with Hay or flayed alive. It’s “smart” horror in the sense that it’s for people too good for the genre theatrics of a knife plunging into flesh or a crocodile snapping off limbs (go watch Crawl). This is horror that has to have a message and Aster seems to want to say about three or four different things on trauma, indigenous cultures and fucked up relationship dynamics, but he doesn’t have the guts to invest in any of these ideas fully. And even if he did, like in Hereditary, you’d be forced into the awkward position of getting out those airhorns again as actors devolve into screaming contests with one another while spouting out gems like “I wish you had died in the womb, etc, etc”. Florence Pugh would deserve better, and she’s rightfully the best thing about this movie. Shining in a cold-open which forces her to work with all of her ability to figure out what to do in a situation where her sister may have killed herself. It’s heady, focused and probably Aster’s best work. And hey, he even shows the corpses and how it happened so the movie never even flinches. The slow tracking zoom he loves is inserted appropriately to reveal something awful. Bad vibes become gospel. Maybe Aster’s got something, as an isolated sequence it is absolutely incredible, and fucking horrifying but then you realize there’s another 110 minutes left. We haven’t even gotten to The Wicker Man cosplay, the menstrual mixed drinks and large scary vaginal portraits drawn all over the campsite. Wait, does Aster hate women? Nah, of course not, he put that ceremonial rape of the boyfriend in question by a dozen other old naked broads in there because he was making a point about relationships and uh, the terror of women’s bodies? Okay, maybe he does hate women. "

Full review here
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