Midsommar

Midsommar ★★★★½

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Metacritic Metascore: 72
IMDB: 7.1

91/100

Release Date: 03 July 2019
Distributor: A24
Budget: $9,000,000
Worldwide Gross: $45,000,000
Filming Locations: Budapest, Hungary

2019 Ranked
A24 Ranked

Pelle: "He's my good friend and I like him, but... Dani, do you feel held by him? Does he feel like home to you?"

SYNOPSIS: A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown's fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.

I haven't felt this unsettled after watching a horror film in a very long time. Perhaps it was my partial disdain for Hereditary, which I obviously need to watch again, that prevented me from seeing this sinister nightmare in theaters, but alas, I am finally caught up.

TRIVIA: The film was originally given an NC-17 by the MPAA. According to Ari Aster, around 30 minutes was cut from the final film mainly due to content. The director's cut released shortly after its theatrical run restores this footage.

I'll start this off with a warning. If you're a mainstream horror fan, you will not like this. It is not The Conjuring, it does not have jump scares and it is a slow movie. The horror does not jump out at you. It felt traumatic. This is an artsy horror film that delves into its material at a methodical pace. It is deeply unsettling and the sinister aura keeps seeping into your pores until the credits roll.

TRIVIA: Most of the Swedish dialogue spoken by the Hårga natives is deliberately not subtitled in order to create the sense of isolation for the audience and especially for the foreign visitors.

Florence Pugh is absolutely phenomenal. She is the heart of the film and is what keeps the audience emotionally invested. It's one of the greatest horror performances that I have seen in a while. The supporting cast is solid, but major props need to go to all the Swedes and extras that made up the commune because they never once detracted from my experience. Excellent performances.

TRIVIA: Ari Aster's visual references for his Scandinavian folk horror are Black Narcissus (1947), Hard to Be a God (2013), Macbeth (1971), and Tess (1979).

The cinematography is stunningly gorgeous. I've never seen a film look so gory and grotesque, yet absolutely beautiful at the same time. The art direction is also phenomenal in depicting the floral, candy-colored, universe that allows for this nightmare to unfold.

TRIVIA: When the film was released in Sweden, rather than eliciting fear in the audience, many people laughed. Many Swedish critics praised the film as a excellent black comedy.

Lastly, Ari Aster's screenplay and direction is what makes this so special and separates it from other horror pieces. It's slow, methodical, eerie. But the characters are psychological and deep. The dialogue is real and colorful. The plot is surreal and disturbing. He lets the scares slowly envelop you as opposed to jumping at you. He allows you to absorb the shock of what's about to happen, process it, and still shock you even when you know what's about to occur. You are then left to process what just happened while the rest of the film moves forward.

DIRECTOR: Ari Aster
WRITER: Ari Aster

This film will be divisive. I have no doubt that many people here will hate this, but that's part of what makes it so great. Halfway through a character says something along the lines of, "that was so messed up, but I'm trying to keep an open mind."

I suggest that audiences take this advice.

For those who have read this entire review...

What was your favorite / least favorite aspect of it?

What do you think the films message is?

Who was your favorite character?

Which is better: Hereditary, Midsommar or The Witch?

Fact-Checking Source: IMDb

Stay safe my friends.

Directing - 4.5/5
Screenplay - 4.5/5
Editing - 4.5/5
Prod Design - 5/5
Cinematography - 5/5
Acting - 4.5/5
Pacing - 4/5
Sound - 4/5
Enjoyment rating 9.5/10

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