Sunday, July 7, 2019

Midsommar (2019) directed by Ari Aster

As a fan of both the original version of The Wicker Man and of Ari Aster’s debut Hereditary, I went into this with high hopes. They were mostly realized.

Hereditary is one of the most profoundly disturbing things I’ve ever seen. It takes a disintegrating and grieving family and creates a weird tale on par with almost any others. It’s behind only Annihilation and The Witch for recent great horror movies for me. Midsommar is more focused on gaslighting and an awful dating relationship, but there is family trauma in the first few scenes. Like Hereditary, it doesn’t look away or flinch from when the gruesome parts hit.

I expected more variation on the Wicker Man themes of a remote cult that is joyous even as they commit heinous acts. That being said, even if it is a version of that story, it is a very good version of this story. As in the Wicker Man someone from the outside is brought into the society, and only gradually realize what is happening. Midsommar takes its time building the tension (some might think too much time) before everything becomes explicit, though there is enough foreshadowing that you get the gist.

Between the insights into gaslighting, the beautiful camerawork/set design, the humor (you don’t have to squint too hard to see a twisted romantic comedy here), the excellent tension build and the best final shot I’ve seen recently, I’d recommend this highly with a strong content warning (it is extremely gruesome).

Highly Recommended.

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