"Midsommar" Movie Review

MOVIE REVIEW: Rethinking Your Summer Vaca with “Midsommar”

A fellow film critic got my attention as I walked into the Midsommar screening last night. He laughed when he saw me and asked if I thought Director Ari Aster might actually scare us this time. I laughed back and told him how Aster’s last film, Hereditary, actually did scare me and how my movie date cried through the last 20 minutes, asking “When is this movie gonna END???”
See, Writer/Director Ari Aster does one of two things to his audience. He delivers a specific type of terror that either grips you tightly around the neck or goes straight over your head.
In other words, if you thought Hereditary was stupid, you’ll feel no differently about this one. If, on the other hand, it launched you into a week long panic-attack (like me), then Midsommar might be right up your alley.

Florence Pugh
A bug flew into my friend’s eye during the movie & that STILL wasn’t the weirdest thing about “Midsommar.”
Midsommar tells the story of American anthropology students who visit a remote Swedish community during it’s summer festival. It’s all flowers, hugs and psychedelic mushrooms until festivities turn bloody and the pagans get busy with the work at hand. That’s when Midsommar makes it’s graphic but clearly announced descent into madness.
Ari Aster knows that real terror comes from events that could actually happen, namely the loss of a loved one. That’s how Hereditary reached into my already overworked Mom-Brain and teased it with horrific possibilities. I didn’t find any relief until that wild final act, which was just bonkers enough to ease my tension. It’s the reason I loved Hereditary, but also couldn’t recommend it or watch it again.
Midsommar starts off with that same, extremely real type of horror, but spends most of the film with it’s smiling, blood-thirsty pagans. This step away from agonizing loss makes Midsommar easier to watch and therefore more enjoyable (even if the story itself isn’t as deep or personal). Midsommar also benefits from an extremely likable cast (namely William Jackson Harper, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter and a phenomenal Florence Pugh) who even introduce some comic-relief.
Midsommar
Awww hell…this doesn’t look good!

Midsommar isn’t a film for everyone, though. Don’t expect jump-scares or traditional terror tropes from Ari Aster. You should, on the other hand, expect gore. These are pagan rituals we’re talking about and pagans apparently don’t mind getting dirty. Be mentally prepared for this or you might leave angry, like my earlier friend who said Midsommar, “was gross for the sake of being gross.”
He also glared at me as I walked out and said, “Tell me you didn’t like that movie!”
I actually did like Midsommar, quite a bit. Yes, it’s weird and gross and occasionally shocking, but it’s also beautiful, funny, and truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It might not have gripped me the way Hereditary did, but it did tell an intoxicating story and introduced me to characters I genuinely cared about. Best of all, I experienced no panic attacks and I might even be able to watch it again! (B+)

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