Ari Aster’s Terrifying Midsommar Pulls Horror Into the Light
It was a safe bet that Ari Aster‘s follow-up to his terrifying 2018 debut Hereditary was going to be good. While the sophomore slump was once considered a very real phenomenon, it seemed unlikely that Aster would whiff with his next feature. The question was could he shock and terrify in a totally refreshing way after having done that, and more, with his nearly flawless debut? The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Midsommar replaces the shadows of Hereditary‘s claustrophobic hellscape and replaces them with bright, pure Scandinavian sunlight. Aster has managed to create a vision just as terrifying as what he conjured in Hereditary, but he’s dragged it out of the darkness and into the light.
The premise is fairly simple: Midsommar follows Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor), an American couple on the brink of breaking up who venture to Sweden for a special 9-day festival that only occurs every 90 years. Who could resist such a once-in-a-lifetime event? The answer is—they should have resisted this once-in-a-lifetime-event. The early reactions to Midsommar were gleeful, and now the full reviews are out. As always, we’ve compiled a spoiler-free glance at what folks are saying.
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service: “The dreamy, color-drenched aesthetic combined with body horror and humor makes for a tonal roller coaster that leaves audiences with a kind of dissonant stomach-churning disturbance that’s not easy to shake.”
Justin Chang, Variety: “Aster’s control is startling: With diabolical suggestiveness he keeps widening the chasm between Dani and Christian, placing visual and emotional space between two people whose souls have long since drifted apart.”
Peter Travels, Rolling Stone: “Another groundbreaker in horror from Hereditary’s Ari Aster who mixes a modern breakup story with pagan rituals in Sweden. If you’re looking for the scariest movie ever shot in blinding sunlight, the raw and riveting Midsommar is it.”
#Midsommar feels like it’s 8 hours long and not at all in a bad way. It’s just such an immersive trip into a fully realized world that you come out the other end feeling like you went there yourself. Florence Pugh is fantastic and her character’s arc is sensational & satisfying.
— John Squires (@FreddyInSpace) July 3, 2019
Ari Aster brings out the best performances from his talent and is a master with the camera. Florence Pugh is fireworks and Will Poulter injects some much needed comedy relief into what can only be described as Wicker Man meets Texas Chain Saw Massacre. #Midsommar pic.twitter.com/qvD6p2LATR
— BMiska ? (@bradmiska) July 3, 2019
Everyone who used the bathroom during #MIDSOMMAR was quite literally running so they didn’t miss a second of its mesmerizing 2.5 hours. As an aficionado of horror movies about isolated druggie cults, Ari’s wears the flower crown. pic.twitter.com/L342ZnRd0G
— Aaron Moorhead (@AaronMoorhead) June 25, 2019
Midsommar is out today. Go if you dare.
Featured image: Midsommar theatrical poster. Courtesy: A24