Midsommar ★★★★★

Horror Hunt #26 (August 2020)

[25] Watch some horror with both male and female full-frontal nudity, watch while naked for bonus points

This sets an impossibly high standard for any future midsommar celebrations.

After being so deeply disappointed with Hereditary I was a bit concerned about watching Midsommar. But lo and behold, Ari Aster really stepped up his game with this film! Midsommar is just an enchanting mixture of domestic tensions and folk horror, carefully intertwined with one another and causing a film that is constantly uncomfortable all the way until the bizarre ending.

The story setup is a classic case of civilized people entering a strange and unfamiliar society of isolated people (hardly a surprise that you can find similarities to Wickerman and Texas Chainsaw Massacre as the film progress). A group of American and English students travel to the small home community of their Swedish friend, Pelle, to witness and participate in a traditional midsummer celebration. They have hopes of getting high, mending relationships, getting laid and all the usual stuff. But very soon they find out that the differences between a small community and a cult can be very insignificant.

I loved the utilization of Scandinavian folklore and traditions! Hårgadansen in particular (it's basically a lethal dance party arranged by the devil) is used to create a stunning sequence, dragging you even further into the nightmarish aura that the film presents. And who will ever be able to forget about Ättestupa or blood eagle after this film? It kind of makes it frustrating to realize how few proper horror films have come out of Sweden over the years when our folklore have so many terrifying concepts to borrow ideas from..

Rarely do I stumble across a film that is so brightly lit while also being genuinely horrifying. I kind of found myself feeling all homely as the film kept showing all those gorgeous sunlit landscapes and even when things got creepy I was mesmerized. The vast, open landscapes create a very paradoxal atmosphere. Our protagonists are clearly trapped but when you look at their surroundings you wouldn't believe so. Fuck, I would absolutely be a member of this midsommar cult wouldn't I?

One could argue that the film gets a bit weird towards the end, sometimes being dangerously close to turning into the kind of absurd mess that Hereditary ended up being. But I still think this film is way more tonally consistent than that film. And unlike Hereditary where the engaging domestic angle got lost after a while it always remains in Midsommar, constantly lurking under the surface, spiraling into a spectacular ending sequence. Länge leve Majdrottningen!

So in conclusion, the greatest Swedish horror film is known as Vargtimmen, one of many classics from Ingmar Bergman's filmography (sorry Ari, you still can't topple that masterpiece). The second greatest Swedish horror film of all time is known as Midsommar, and it isn't even a Swedish film! This film is a masterpiece but also a reminder that us Swedes really need to step up our horror game.

Block or Report

Robert liked these reviews