Ari Aster’s highly anticipated second horror outing after Hereditary takes us to Sweden to take part in a mid-summer festival. Did Midsommar live up to the hype or did it just become a Sunday morning dancing ceremony?
We will be giving away MAJOR SPOILERS from now on.
Up 1: The Sets
The film takes us to a Swedish commune that is well away from the world. We have oddly shaped buildings placed in the middle of the field, each with a different level of importance to the community. Once inside the buildings, we get perfect wall decorations which are filled with hints to what is going to happen through the festival. Each small cube has such detail, you will spend more time studying them than anything else going on through the film.
Down 1: Male American Characters
Midsommar has a bunch of Americans who go to this festival. We are not going to talk about Dani yet, but Christian, Josh, and Mark are students, and while we don’t learn anything about what Christian and Mark are studying, they do seem to all come out of the same class of philosophers, with Josh wanting to learn about different cultures, including this one. Josh becomes greedy for success in his page, willing to break rules, Christian thinks he can wing it and suddenly wants to write on the community, while Mark might get laughs, but he has no idea how to treat another culture. The three Americans are just terrible examples of people that are willing to push people back to get ahead in life, we have no idea what they want from their lives or anything, making us give zero care about what happens to them.
Up 2: Graphic Injuries
Midsommar has one of the most shocking injury-inflicting moments you will see this year, the first day of the festival, which sees an elderly couple commit suicide, where we see the impact of the injuries in a truly shocking level of detail that must make you wince with what you see. We do get to see some shocking moments which include lungs hanging out of a body; shocking and intriguing all at once.
Down 2: Drugs
Midsommar does turn to one of the laziest horror movie tropes: just make your characters stoners. Most of the Americans are just looking to get high. The first thing they do when they arrive is getting high. Would you really take any liquid from a group who celebrate suicide within their ranks? The simple answer is going to be no, however much you enjoy the odd moment of getting high. Making nearly all the horror moments in the film based on hallucinations that the characters are having does take away a lot of the horror involved in the film.
Up 3: Florence Pugh
Florence Pugh does give us one of the most powerful performances in horror this year. It might not quite top Lupita Nyong’o, but she does make us believe that she is suffering through an extreme level of grief which can come on and take over her life at different stages, on different levels. We need her character to be one that we can sympathize with, which is what Florence delivers on, proving once again that she is a major name to be watching in the acting world.
Down 3: Just Run
Midsommar has the drug problem, but the biggest frustration in the horror genre is when the characters should and can just get out before everything gets out of hand, only choose not to. We do have the English couple try to leave, we do see what happens to one of them, but the other, no idea (please fill this in if you saw this). The American side of it doesn’t even bat an eyelid to seeing what happened, which is the most disturbing part of the film, because it isn’t ok to just watch a suicide and think it is fine, whatever the culture might be. When any horror film fails to capture the idea that the character should only walk away from a situation they know is only going to get worse, it leaves you wondering how these students get that far into their university degrees.
What were your ups & downs in Midsommar?
Darren starting writing for films at Movies Reviews 101. He joined the Ready Steady Cut team in 2018 and is a proud member of the LAMB (Large Association of movie bloggers).