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Midsommar Review

When unfortunate events bring a relationship back together, they tag along with a group of friends to a remote Swedish village for a once in a lifetime festival in eternal sunlight.

After the release of “Hereditary”, I was sure that Ari Aster is a director to keep my eye on. His perspective on horror is candid, yet complex and I cannot get enough of it. With that being said, Midsommar was on the list for my most anticipated film of 2019 and I made sure to keep the trailer views and promotion reads to a minimum. After seeing this film, I could have read every article, watched all trailers, listened to early reviews, and still be stunned. Every couple of years, there are films that create a theater experience that is impossible to run away from, even with your eyes closed. Midsommar not only falls into that category, but also shoots to the top as the most uncomfortable theater experience I have ever had.

I’m not going to be around the bush here. This film takes you on a roller coaster that only goes left. Cult movies have the tendency to inhabit the same format, but that is not the case here. This cult is centered around beauty. Everything they do has a sense of appeal, even if it involves blood. There are moments that completely disregard the viewer reactions and go for the most abnormal sequence only a madman can think of. But it does not stop there. Ari Aster has the gift of deciding when to let you see a frightening image and it’s on his timing, not yours. Something can occur off screen and you will never see it until he wants you to, and that can be at any given time. This method is much more effective than your subtle jump scares and it sticks like glue for the remainder of the film. It's unapologetic-ally graphic, cerebral, perverted, and sinister; all in broad daylight. This is a psychological horror film more than anything, and if you are a true horror fan, you know what you are in for.

The cinematographer deserves all accolades. This film is beautifully shot with wide frames that consist of multiple acts happening at once. Even before they reach the village, we see stone cold shots of symbolic walls (pay attention to the walls) and a strong perception of grief. The journey is mesmerizing, and it gives you the courage to look even when the view is too much because it’s still a beautiful sight to see. Much like the picture, the sound is stunning. The songs from the villagers is both melodic and harmonious. The score is striking with extremely loud chords that somehow manages to keep you in a daze and on the edge of your seat. On several occasions, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and didn’t let down for ages.

One aspect of Hereditary that takes it over the top is the performance of Toni Collette. I am proud to say that Florence Pugh brought the same energy. Her performance is magnificent, and I will be shocked if she's overlooked during awards season. As a standout, the remainder of the cast is outstanding as well. Will Poulter brings humor that is warm and greatly necessary, Jack Reynor is riveting, and William Jackson Harper dominates a scene that I will never forget.

This film is phenomenal across the board. If I had to nitpick, I will cut the runtime down by fifteen minutes and remove two characters who I feel were not as necessary to the story as they could have been. Other than those notions, this is the horror film to beat. Much like Jordan Peele’s “Us”, horror is taking a new turn that is more intriguing and though-provoking. This film is full of messages and it may take a second watch to catch them all, but you have to be a trooper on a boatload of shrooms to ever sit through that again.

If you are a true horror fan, watch this immediately.

If not, you may not be able to handle it…


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