This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Patrick Delmore’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
‘Someone should tell those girls they’re walking stupid.’
’Dude, is he gonna kill me?’
I think the problem I had with Ari Aster is that he needs to allow his movies to be more fun and less serious. Move away from Lars Von Trier and be more like Darron Aronofsky. ‘Midsommar’ is spoiled in the premise, you know people are going to die, you just don’t know how. ‘Midsommar’ was a hairs breath from being a fantastic dark comedy, and I did laugh in several places. I wasn’t ever scared though, like I was watching ‘Hereditary’. I watched both of Aster features alone, and I think it was to my detriment. These movies are meant to be shared experiences, I should have been in a crowded theatre watching bodies fall from a cliff. Just like the characters in the film are standing in a crowd when this happens. There are better movies that tell this tale more effectively. ‘The Invitation’ and ‘Kill List’ would be my top two contenders for best versions of this sort of tale.
Here are my somewhat edited thoughts as I was watching the movie.
‘Midsommer’ is better than ‘Hereditary’. I’m interested in what’s going on.
There is nothing so hackneyed as naming the antagonist in your pagan horror film Christian.
‘Midsommar’ begins in a way that is too similar to ‘Hereditary’. People unsupportive of each other’s emotions occupying the same space. To the movies credit, this is deliberate, and in the end Dani is surrounded by a group of people who will share her joy and pain with with her.
When the mushroom trip began I started to get excited for the potential of the film. It doesn’t really build for me from there, the best parts are always the scenes where Dani is disoriented.
If the cliff scene was supposed to be shocking, it didn’t work for me. The fate of the elderly couple was telegraphed well before they jumped. As mentioned above, I think I needed to see it on the big screen.
An hour and five minutes in... okay so Florence Pugh’s family suicide is like the ritual. Now I get to sit with her for an hour and twenty minutes while she makes this connection. Wasn’t bored though, and again, to the films credit, the ending is better than that.
An hour and 31 minutes in... hey it’s that jump cut from ‘Hereditary’ where the light changes abruptly as we linger on one character.
They were going to kill Will Poulter anyway. Nothing about this society implies they’d have a problem with things getting pissed on.
I liked picture of Ray Bolger as The Scarecrow above Christian’s fridge. The scene where Pugh’s feet turn to straw is just as fun as her mushroom trip earlier in the movie.
I like this lady running the dance.
I like that the locations and times of day are rarely set. There’s suddenly a huge building next to the temple, which serves no purpose other than to be there and be unsettling.
Leaf over Christian’s butthole. Superimposed during sex scene fade out. A reference to covering his nakedness?
Dani keeps trying to throw up and nothing comes out. She’s part of the sex ritual. She was supposed to see it.
Why in the world would Christian look at the hanging body the way he looks at it?
Opening and closes Christian’s eyes one at a time, I like it.
A bingo machine!!!
In summation I get why people like this movie. I like ‘Hereditary’ more for having watched this. If only that family could have connected like the group in this movie, they might not have had to die. Same cinematic universe for sure.