Midsommar ★★★½

Activated by the same octave of grief as Hereditary (in a stunning opening sequence), Ari Aster’s zealous second feature pivots from the consternation of watching something fall apart to the inevitable dread of a plot coming together. The results are more slight characterization and a less ‘twisty’ resolution, but what’s earned is a visual feast topped with psychedelic effects and surreal gestures to boot.

This movie does a lot in its two and a half hours. There’s a ton of disturbing imagery that is often thrown in the face of the viewer, teamed with foreboding questions and answers about this flowery take on paganism. When it feels most like a horror movie – the victims being conveyed as conventionally bad people, it’s still doubtful most will feel they had what was coming to them. In that sense, when Midsommar does need to get on track and justify its extremities, it ends up feeling a bit too straightforward thematically. Fortunately, Florence Pugh’s commiserating performance accents the weirdly comic strangeness of this trip. That and the consistently impressive filmmaking drive home what is sure to be one of the year’s most memorable cinematic offerings. And all without any proper darkness. A single face clap for that

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