Recently I went to catch Midsommar in theaters, and let me tell you: that was some wild stuff. I was sold on seeing this movie the moment I saw articles surfacing that Hereditary director Ari Aster had a follow-up planned. I'm still not over Hereditary and I don't know if I will be. It's bold, harsh, and tense, and I love it. Midsommar gives us similar elements, served on a very different plate.
But would a horror or suspense film be complete without one? Mostly, it's Aster's depiction of grief in this film that I am impressed by. The depictions in Hereditary are drawn from similar traumas (which may or may not have been intentional?), but they're drawn out by very different means. No demons haunt us in Midsommar; not literal ones, at least. Dani is doing her best to move past her grief and use this trip to Sweden as a way to enjoy herself and get away from everything that reminds her of what happened. But it slowly becomes harder than she expected.
The music is another thing I loved about this film. Like that in The Witch, this score consisted of ritualistic chants and string-fueled orchestras. I thought that was haunting in itself, instilling dread in the audience early on. And accompanied with the visuals, where we do see folks playing music in the fields and dancing merrily, just the thought that danger lies in plain sight makes it all the more effective.
What it might suffer from to some is originality; we've seen films about cults and rituals in far-off villages. We've seen questionable practices amongst off-the-grid groups on-screen (The Wicker Man, Cannibal Holocaust, The Green Inferno, The Ritual, etc.). But Aster's attention to detail and incorporation of lore and excellent, memorable visuals set this film apart from the others. Can you say: Bear in a Cage?
I really enjoyed Midsommar. I wouldn't say it's better than Hereditary, but it's strange, it's brutal at times, and it's definitely in-your-face, for reasons I won't disclose due to spoilers. All I'll say is: body diversity! Inclusion! But through its violence and thick tension, it has some strangely uplifting moments that leave you thinking after the credits roll. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Ari Aster. I think he's proving himself to be one of the finest directors of recent years.
Did you see Midsommar? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
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