Elle Driver’s review published on Letterboxd:
It was only last year around March that I remember my first time getting to fulfill a dream of mine: going to sxsw. At the festival I got to have one of the craziest film experiences I've ever had watching Ari Aster's debut feature Hereditary. I even vividly remember logging into this app and passionately gushing about the film in multiple hyperbolic reviews which you can (and should 😊) still read. But as hyperbolic as my words sounded nothing I said was exaggerated, because believe it or not Hereditary has had a lasting impact on cinema and the horror genre itself. The film went on to be the most commercially successful film released under A24, received unanimous praise, generated big awards season hype, and built a massive fan following. It's crazy to see a film that was deemed "a game changer" actually live up to that title and be a game changer. I've had multiple discussions and watched multiple breakdowns of what makes Hereditary such a monumental piece of horror cinema that will stand the test of time and to this day I stand by everything I said. With such high praises and acclaim like that for a debut film its inevitable that there will be even bigger expectations with the second film.
One year after the terror unleashed by Hereditary and here we are with Ari Aster's new nightmare, Midsommar. Going into Midsommar I didn't know what to expect but all I knew was that after I walked out of this movie my life wouldn't be the same and I'd be fucked up. To be honest saying I walked out of this movie "fucked up" is an understatement. As I was walking out of the theater I felt dizzy, discombobulated, disgusted, and all I could think was "WTF DID I JUST WATCH?!" - Midsommar is a terrifyingly disturbing look into a hell lit by the luminous sun and covered in secrecy.
It's hard to dig into Midsommar without exposing what the movie truly is beneath the masquerade created by its marketing so I'll wait until nationwide release to get into its mythos. As for now all I can do is describe how it made me feel and what I thought of it as a piece of cinema. To put it bluntly Ari Aster has created a new type of horror that only he is capable of bringing to the big screen. It's genuine raw evil at its most primal and visceral. Horrified faces, tears through faint screams, terrifying chants, atmosphere that has enough tension to send anyone into panic, and beautifully composed filmmaking that doesn't compromise nuance for horror. When watching this film I felt as though it was slowly eroding away at me mentally, physically, and emotionally. Like I was there witnessing all the mayhem amongst this group of doomed young adults and I wanted out. Midsommar much like Hereditary is a film that only manages to get worse as it progresses until it reaches the final act and you've reached a point where you can no longer take anymore of what's going on on-screen. It's an evil, nasty, cynical, and beautiful art piece that digs deeper into a communion of sacrifice and destruction. Midsommar is an examination and meditation upon the perils of family, why we do the things we do, and what compels us to act upon these inner urges leaving you to beg the question of what is morally wrong and what is just? Aside from its incredibly intriguing screenplay the film is so beautifully crafted I'm already convinced Aster is a god-tier cinematic auteur. The way Aster films set pieces, actors, faces, and film sequences is alluring and mystifying but so incredibly unsettling. Aster's depiction of violence is extremely effective and this time around it's gut-wrenching and downright disgusting. The body horror is so excellent and the usage of practical effects shines through all of the gory scenes. The acting from most of the cast is really good or at least convincing even when it's weaker but Florence Pugh is on an entirely different level here. Florence Pugh gives what is by far THE best performance I've seen this year. There's so much I can say about this movie but I really wanna wait until it's out so I can get into the spoilers but I'm happy to say Midsommar is nothing short of brilliant. Midsommar is a psychedelic and hypnotic horror film that grows more disturbing by every second like a raging wildfire until you are engulfed in its flames. You can prepare yourself all you want but in the end it's useless. This is one truly fucked up and sinister movie and im still trying to deal with the nightmares and mental trauma it's already caused me. Ari Aster has done it again.