Jordan Peele Hails Ari Aster’s new Horror Film Midsommar
If you’re getting to get praise from a fellow writer/director, Ari Aster truly couldn’t have done better than Get Out and Us mastermind Jordan Peele. Aster shocked the filmgoing world last year with his directorial debut Hereditary, and now he’s back with Midsommar. The former was a terrifying hellscape of shadows, miniatures, and the misery of cruel heritage, while the latter looks like a sunlight nightmare. In a new issue of “Fangoria,” Peele interviews Aster, and in the process says that Midsommar has “the most atrociously disturbing imagery” he’s ever seen. Now that‘s praise.
Entertainment Weekly has the issue, which is the third issue of the newly relaunched horror classic. Here’s the key part of Peele and Aster’s exchange, which is like getting a front row seat at a master class for filmmaking:
JORDAN PEELE: I’m a staunch believer that audiences are so accustomed to claustrophobic, dirty horror movies that situate them in places they wouldn’t elect to be, that the innate slickness of Hereditary and the sheer vacation that Midsommar provides, to me, is a recipe for, “I want to go see that movie.” So actually, I think that’s a really commercially savvy choice. When I texted you after the screening, I wrote, “I think you’ve made the most idyllic horror film of all time.” You’ve taken Stepford Wives and shattered the attractiveness of that movie with this one. That alone is a feat. Also, there are some obvious comps out there, but this movie is just so unique. This hasn’t existed yet, and anything after Midsommar is going to have to contend with it. I mean, this usurps The Wicker Man as the most iconic pagan movie to be referenced.
ARI ASTER: Gosh. Well, thank you. It’s funny, because I guess it does belong to the folk horror space. But I guess what it’s trying to do is establish footing on that path, and then proceed in a way that is anathema to what you’re expecting. It’s funny, because somebody sent me an article: “The Films That Will Be Referenced By Midsommar, and How Midsommar Will Fit Into The Folk Horror Space.” I really hope that by the time we’re on our way towards the ending, I hope that it enters some new territory. I’ve been asked, “What is it?” and I’ve been happy saying it’s a breakup movie dressed in the clothes of a folk horror film.
JORDAN PEELE: It plays a weird sleight of hand, where it transcends the horror of itself. It is an ascension of horror. I didn’t feel victimized; I felt like I was being put up on this pedestal and honored through the eyes of the protagonist. It’s a very unique feeling for a film to conjure because after it ended, I found myself looking back at the final act like, “Holy s‑‑‑.” That was some of the most atrociously disturbing imagery I’ve ever seen on film, and yet I experienced it with this open-mouthed, wild-eyed gape. I think that part of how we get there is never reducing the villains to any kind of snarling monsters with an evil agenda.
Intrigued yet? We know we are. These two guys are making the horror genre their own, and they’ve earned the accolade that, if their name is on a film, that film is a must-see.
Midsommar hits theaters on July 3, 2019.
Featured image: Midsommar Courtesy: A24