Midsommar ★★★

At its core, is Ari Aster's "Midsommar" anything more than one of those horror films where immature American kids wind up in over their heads after they travel to some exotic vacation spot and upset the locals? Under its shockingly brilliant color palette and cinematicized shocks of violence, is the film more than one of those poorly dubbed cannibal movies that would clutter the shelves of the horror section of the best mom and pop video stores?

It isn't. Mostly.

It can also be, however, a searing, at times too-heavy dissection of grief with a performance of power by Florence Pugh. As Dani, Pugh builds a character working to get out from under family tragedy and happening upon an event that leads to a surprising freedom. She is teeth-grittingly strong, but that strength can easily crack under the stress of Dani's circumstances.

In the end, "Midsommar" is one of those emperor's-new-clothes horror films where audiences see what they want to see and glorify the wrong point. It is a horror film where the discussion of the work may be more compelling than the work itself.

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