Midsommar is a two-for-one fairy tale horror extravaganza (of sorts) - Movie Review #46

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  • Aaron Warren
    Aaron Warren  4 days back

    I really like HEREDITARY, but what kept me from loving it is that I was not the biggest fan of the path the film follows in the back half. It's _all_ incredibly well-down and great, don't get me wrong. The craft is astonishing, full stop. It's just that the emphasis on Paimon and his backstory left me cold and took me out of the film a bit. The way I described it to friends was: It's as if William Friedkin decided to _not_ spend the last 1/3rd of THE EXORCIST documenting a profound cosmic battle between Good and Evil taking place in a little girl's room (which is what makes it so terrifying and profoundly horrifying to me), and instead, spent that time exploring and explaining Pazuzu's backstory and mythology. I think Aster did a phenomenal job doing so with Paimon, I just don't think that was the best choice for the latter half of the film, as brilliant and well done as it is. So I liked HEREDITARY, it's a great film, but I don't think it's _quite_ the all-time classic folks have claimed. In my opinion, of course. However, HEREDITARY did make me even more excited to see what Aster would do as a _follow-up_ film.

    And holy shit, what a follow-up it was!!! Everything that the majority of hardcore HEREDITARY fans claimed about that film being a modern classic, in the canon of greatest horror films ever, etc? That's how I feel about MIDSOMMAR. I think it's an absolutely breathtakingly beautiful work, yet simultaneously so utterly horrifying that it took my breath away in _that_ manner as well. And the ending is not just one of the most _satisfying_ endings of a horror film I've ever seen, but of _any_ film period. The ending is truly an all-timer, in my view, a Fugue of Beauty and Macabre that would make any of the Romantic poets proud. Not to mention one of the best horror _scores_ in cinematic history.

    Ultimately, I know that my reaction and assessment of HEREDITARY is somewhat unfair to how brilliant it really is. It's a personal preference to _some_ degree. But I truly think that MIDSOMMAR is even better than its already-great predecessor, and I'll go out on a limb and state that I think it will age even better than HEREDITARY (which will age very well itself). Ari Aster is like some cyborg who was crafted to make horror films to my personal specifications and desires. He's one of the few modern horror directors who satisfies most every facet of Horror that I look for in a cinematic work.

    • Wolfatadoor
      Wolfatadoor  1 weeks back

      I don't get the disdain toward Hereditary's ending. It it set up in the first minute that it ends the way it ends.

      • MW G
        MW G  3 weeks back

        I pretended the entire movie that it was Chidi from the Good Place and it was a possible death scenario that they use as a throw away punchline. “Sometimes you’re killed by a falling AC unit, sometimes you’re murdered by a Swedish cult but we try not to leave you with too many traumatic memories.”

        • Angel McGovern
          Angel McGovern  4 weeks back

          Only the big sacrifice happens every 90 years. That's when some of the commune members are also sacrificed. The yearly celebration can still include sacrifices of outsiders - bring them in provide some fresh genetic material, and then get rid of them.

          That would explain Pelle's situation. His parents were probably outsiders brought in. He was kept and his father probably had to impregnate one of the women. Pelle even introduces on commune member as "his sister."

          • The Week I Review
            The Week I Review   4 weeks back

            Except he explicitly says that they only live for 72 years, right? So that means they have to sacrifice all 72-year-olds.

        • David Reynold
          David Reynold  1 months back

          Omg I morbidly enjoyed this review

          • fr3@kb!+¢h
            [email protected]!+¢h  1 months back

            ari said in some interview that the levitation was christian tripping on the tea during the sex scene (cut because he thought it would be confusing).. you probably know the director's cut (3 hours) is available now, which addresses some of the elements ari wanted to keep in, but ultimately cut due to A24's desire to tighten the run time for the theatrical release.. if you were planning on watching again, and found the audience's reaction annoying, then you might try the director's cut in the comfort of your own home (if you haven't already).

            • Project Unity
              Project Unity  1 months back

              7:55 - 8:00 killed me haha

            • Aaron Smyth
              Aaron Smyth  2 months back

              You were probably to engrossed in yourself to appreciate it. 7.4/10? I give your personality 3.4/10. Because everyone's a critic.

            • Aaron Smyth
              Aaron Smyth  2 months back

              How do you know he is a garbage person? What about immature?

            • Colleen Frankle
              Colleen Frankle  2 months back

              I love when the guy doing the review says I hate this guy talking about christian

              • Flora Posteschild
                Flora Posteschild  3 months back

                I have an explanation, which Ari Aster probably wouldn't want to say definitively because it seems too simple, but IMO covers what people think of as flaws: SPOILERS most of the film, or at least all of it set at the commune, is Dani's dream, fueled by mushrooms. The compound is obviously not a working farm, but out of a children's story book, complete with animals frolicking around. The events there are foreshadowed not only by the blaringly obvious tapestries at the commune, but also by the artwork at Dani's apartment. As you mentioned, the timeline of ceremonies don't really make sense. They're more just a collection of half-remembered ceremonies from Dani's anthropology courses. At least one, the blood eagle, probably didn't really exist. It all come across as a the fantasy of a disturbed young psychology or anthropology student, who is really pissed at her boyfriend and his buddies.

                • Flora Posteschild
                  Flora Posteschild  3 months back

                  @The Week I Review That's another way to look at it. It's a story written by a man who knows something about anthropology -- it's just pushing the bounds of plausibility.
                  But there are reasons to lean away from that view. Partly because Aster has said several times that he wrote the script after a bad break-up of his own. And partly because everything is SUCH a wish fulfillment fantasy for Dani, where she not only gets revenge, and a family, but is crowned queen, no less. And she gets a big smackeroo on the lips from Pelle, to whom she was obviously attracted before she went to Sweden.


                  It could be "just a story", but I like to think of Dani waking up, ditching her companions, and finding a nice Swedish man who doesn't live on a commune.

                • The Week I Review
                  The Week I Review   3 months back

                  To be honest, I think you're overthinking it and that it's even simpler than that: the fact that it's out of a story book doesn't mean it's actually a dream; it just means that it's out of a story book.

                  If it were supposed to take place in The Real World, then I think you'd be right, but it's not, and all of the unrealistic elements are just unrealistic because they help push the narrative forward.

              • L B
                L B  3 months back

                Just a note on the laughter, Ari Aster did state in a few interviews that there were some intentional comedic elements. Great review.

                • in september
                  in september  3 months back

                  L B what a good looking face you have 👻 I agree, it was a good review. we need more people like ari to create and make things that shift out perspectives

              • shurik121
                shurik121  3 months back

                9 is a very important number in Norse paganism, some form of which is the cult's religion (runes, nature worship, Ymir is mentioned once I think etc). That's why all the numbers mentioned by the cultists are divisible by 9. It is connected to legends about Odin spending 9 days being hung from Yggdrasil in order to gain knowledge of the runes.


                I think only the last part of the celebrations - human sacrifice of 9 people - happens every 90 years. The rest of activities are happening when they have to (ritual suicide of 72-year olds for example). The human sacrifice of 9 people is also something that is attributed to Norse pagans of old, however it's not clear if it actually happened or is just an invention of Christian writers who wrote about Vikings and their religion hundreds of years after the Viking age ended. You can see this kind of sacrifice ceremony, complete with people volunteering for sacrifice, in one of the S1 episodes of Vikings. Also, the British guy gets blood-eagled - another thing that is mentioned a lot when talking about the cruelty of the Vikings, but probably was never practiced in real life.


                In short, some knowledge of Norse paganism helps a bit to understand the ceremonies of the cult.

                • Jeff Miller
                  Jeff Miller  2 months back

                  The festival occurs yearly only the human sacrifices are once every 90 years. Remember Pelle showing Dani the pic of last year’s May Queen?

                • Lannisen
                  Lannisen  3 months back

                  I came here to write this. Yes, so much in this film is directly inspired by real old Norse rituals or practices, which makes it very authentic to watch as a Scandinavian with historic interests.

                  Also, the people laughing might have been Scandinavian.. at least I laughed my way through the whole film, not just at the sections that were obviously comedic. Still loved the film.

                • The Week I Review
                  The Week I Review   3 months back

                  Gotcha! That's all very interesting to know. Thank you.

              • Teela Wyman
                Teela Wyman  4 months back

                Congrats, you've somehow managed to convince me to watch Hereditary.

              • RidgeOBridge
                RidgeOBridge  4 months back

                I was wondering about the floating thing .. wth.. thanks for confirming you’re the only one who seemed to notice ...
                also nobody seems to link pele’s parents dying in a house fire before he was takin in by the cult which can only be assumed to have been the last barn fire ...90 years ago...
                Also no depth to Christians character was a disappointment .. 2.5 hours of him just slugging around the village like “oh just ate this hair, oh well” ... he didn’t even need the magic dust at the end they coulda done the bear costume when he showed up and it’s the same movie ...
                Good flick otherwise ..

                • Alex Offenkrantz
                  Alex Offenkrantz  4 months back

                  Saw it last night with Conor (who you met at my magic show). I almost threw up during the cliff scene. The whole movie was anxiety-inducing, and though I wouldn't necessarily say that I enjoyed it, I'm glad I saw it, and would probably eventually see it again.

                  • The Week I Review
                    The Week I Review   4 months back

                    Specifically the part where they cut in after the initial extreme wide and you're like "Oh wow, look, look at all the work that went into that fake gore"? That was intense.

                    Definitely understand that. There are a lot of movies I feel that way about. I was too busy being mad at Christian the whole time to be quite so big-picture anxious.