Midsommar ★★★½

Enjoyable as a standard, if atypically pretty, well-acted, and well-made, "doofus teens get picked off one by one after wildly misinterpreting local customs" horror setup, but unfortunately succumbs to a severe case of Taking Itself Far, Far Too Seriously (or, to use that agonizing old chestnut, "elevated horror") that it never quite recovers from. I can get behind Aster's ambitions, but this feels too mannered and fussy for its own good; all of my favorite parts of Hereditary came from its messiest, weirdest choices, while this stages everything to a degree where elements that should come off as irrevocably raw barely leave an impact (which, considering this is about grief and toxic relationships, is probably a problem). Pugh's fantastic, but she's working above her material, which seems stuck on the old art-house horror chestnut of "trauma on its own without elaboration is 100% usable as character development" - maybe I should have seen the red flags when Aster started talking about Lars von Trier influences. Nowhere near as potent - or as genuinely subversive of its chosen genre - as Apostle, but I'm still glad I saw it if only to witness my theater breaking down into hysterical laughter during the final act.

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