Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing. From the visionary mind of Ari Aster comes a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.
Tapping into our modern day fears - this is the cinema of unease rather than the dumb jumpscare-a-minute horrors that take up space in the cinemas. Creepy rather than scary, this dials up the terror slowly and before you know where you are you are ensnared as the characters. Midsommar is the horror of 2019 (so far). I think it's better than Ari Aster's debut Hereditary too which is surprising. The director has definitely aced the 'difficult' second film test here by developing his style into something more consistent and utterly convincing.
Clues are all around as you wonder what will become of a girl (who's overcoming a tragedy) and here 4 male friends who travel to Sweden to be the guests at a mysterious pagan worship ceremony. That's all I'll say - and I will say, go in to the film with as little information as possible - it's so much better enjoying this film cold and ignorant.
14 out of 23 members found this review helpful.
Inexorable Videos Micro Review: Midsommar
- Midsommar review by EP
With some of the best cinematography and blocking of the year, Midsommar takes what The Wicker Man did so fantastically and takes it in an entirely new, even more f****d up direction.
4 out of 8 members found this review helpful.
One star given so I could write a review!
- Midsommar review by BE
Listed as a thriller when it's patently a horror movie. It started off okay then descended into a nightmare farce. Weak storyline, weak dialogue and with some real stomach churning scenes. I have seen drivel but this is Drivel with a capital D. Be warned. Yuk!
I might be a little biased but did not enjoy the film at all, as a pagan, I really wanted to find some enjoyment and genuine originality in the story and theme, but I find it quite disturbing that this is the ill researched way pagan spirituality is played in films repeatedly and bares no truth to how we practice its quite unsettling to see this type of film is still being made and more far fetched nowadays than its previous similar films would have been. I really wouldn't want to comment anymore other than heed a warning of not to waste disappointing viewing time.
3 out of 10 members found this review helpful.
Ari Aster....go back to school
- Midsommar review by CS
Midsommar is an example of a director who started off with the decidedly mediocre Hereditary, descending further through the average ranks into the downright bland. There have been rather a lot of films about religious cults in secluded areas and most of them done a lot better than this. The Wicker Man is the obvious comparison and Ari Aster tries, but miserably fails to pull off anything anywhere near as good here. The cast is a mostly unremarkable bunch of dull brats with equally poor character arcs and limp dialogue which is matched only by a story so full of holes it should've been a victim of the St.Valantine's Day Massacre. I can only assume the director doesn't watch many films or has allowed himself to become overly influenced by the plots of the very few that he actually has taken the time to view. Even TY West's stab at this subject matter was better than this drivel.
Lets hope all surviving copies of this lilly-white claptrap get rounded up and placed in a certain man shaped sacrificial structure. Sooner the better.
Was it good, was it bad, I simply can't make my mind up? Kind of predictable but it had its moments but it went on way too long for my liking
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.
a bit tired
- Midsommar review by CP Customer
This film is so dated - Just another version on the Wicker Man, and doubtlessly misrepresenting and upsetting those with a genuine interest in paganism. All that sexist rubbish in it was positively boring and I'm not sure why I even gave it one star!
Seen Wicker Man? Well this is a similar path. A secret cult tucked away in Sweden practices dark arts which begins to dawn on a group of Americans visiting their hideaway. A more sophisticated approach than a pure slasher movie, it ends up travelling the same route.
Very slow and not springing any real surprises it fails as a horror film and as a thriller for my money. Also, it drags the whole thing out for nearly 3 hours, thereby allowing plenty of time to add up 2 and 2 so it flops on the suspense front. Cannot recommend it frankly as it mostly fails to entertain and therefore seems pointless.
This is an interesting and gloriously styled film that, despite running to nearly three hours, holds your attention with a clever blend of beautifully shot scenes, tense atmosphere and never-entirely-sure-what’s-coming-next storyline.
Dani has problems and issues. Her sister commits suicide at the beginning of the film, taking both their parents with her. That, together with being in a relationship with Christian, a man who seems not to know what honesty and commitment are, adds to her frequent panic attacks and paranoia. Then, out of the blue, she discovers that he’s off to Sweden for the summer and, almost as a guilty afterthought, he invites her along; making it a party of four men, and Dani.
It transpires that one of his college friends, Pelle—played very well by Vilhelm Blomgren—was raised in a commune tucked away in an extremely remote corner of this heavily forested country. And this year is a once in a 90 year chance to participate in a very special midsummer festival. We will discover just how special that turns out to be!
From the start all is not as it seems. The festivities begin harmlessly enough in bright summer sunshine with flowers, food and dancing. If that sounds a little twee, there is, throughout the first half of the film, an undercurrent of tension. And, like a dripping tap, the tension is released little by little, drawing you in as the film gradually grows darker and darker. And it does become very dark indeed. This is not a film for the faint hearted, and one most definitely not for the children of the house.
I thoroughly enjoyed the cinematography; wide sweeping scenes of Scandinavian beauty, the colours bright and vibrate. At one point a winding forest road was slowly rotated until the sky became the highway, winding through the tops of endless pine.
Florence Pugh, best known for playing Katherine in the excellent Lady Macbeth (2016), was superb as Dani. I felt that Jack Reyner, playing Christian didn’t entirely convince; considering what was going on around him he was a little underwhelming.
Overall I enjoyed the slow burn effect of the film. You knew that something was around the corner, that the idyllic nature of the setting and the ever-so-polite community were too good to be true. But what? Then it arrived; the scene that awakened the narrative. You’ll know exactly what I mean. From there the film picks up it’s pace, racing you along to a quite amazing and visceral finale.
It’s certainly a long film, but stay with it. The ending is intriguing. Does she? Or doesn’t she?
Midsommar review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
Director Ari Aster continues to prove himself as a master of getting under the skin of the audience in the weirdest ways. He manages to tap into something deeply spiritual, sexual, and just viscerally disturbing about humanity as he did in 2018’s Hereditary. Now with Midsommar, he continues to dig into the tragedy of finding one’s self in the wake of tragedy, trying to make sense of the world. Within this surreal swirl of cults and sacrifices, some quiet meaning to life itself may be reached as characters tumble through seeking something more.
The tragedy starts early when Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) experiences the death of her sister who commits suicide, additionally killing her parents in the process. As a result, Dani is a psychological mess, making it the absolute worst time for her boyfriend Christian Hughes (Jack Reynor) to break it off with her. Realizing that she needs someone after such a traumatic event, he stays with her. But holding down that relationship is proving to be harder and harder with every passing day, making every party most awkward. This makes Christian’s plans with his friends for a trip to Sweden all the more troubling for bringing along a girlfriend who seems both emotionally damaged and on her last leg with the relationships. Not a good spot for both of them.
Their trip, however, is exceptionally unconventional. They spend their vacation within a collective of people staying in open countryside, only a few houses presents and plenty of green scenery around them. But the longer they stay, the more they notice something is amiss. For starters, the sun doesn’t appear to go down during the evening. For two, the people they stay with have weird traditions and foreboding artwork to accompany their rituals. For three, their rituals involve hallucinogenics and suicide. Before the Americans traveling abroad know better, it’s too late; they’re trapped within a cult.
Horror movie logic dictates that these tourists will be murdered by the cult. How the cult goes about doing so is far more intriguing and involves far more than just deciding what weapon to use. In their elaborate scheme of pleasing their fellowship, with secrets brewing beneath their smiles and open nature, they have concocted a blender of sex and torture most complex. They have an open nature that at first seems to free and welcoming only to showcase how this natural philosophy and belief makes acts of cruelty, rape, and flat-out murder seem to be just a part of the culture.
Now, from that description of the cult, one may assume that this means the traveling adults are dismayed by the cult and desire to take it down for its evil ways. Thankfully, the film never becomes that simple. As with Hereditary, this film tries to not only feature the cult winning but how the cult slowly takes hold of its newest members. The more Dani delves the deeper into their weird ways, the more accepting she starts to become of their immoral actions in the same of finding peace. It’s a strange catharsis that oddly enough touches on some hard to grasp the aspect of moving on in this tapestry of awkwardly ritualistic sex and violent sacrifices.
Midsommer is a slow burn of a horrifying and unorthodox horror that rarely relents in its surrealist bent. Loaded with surprises most shocking and emotions most frustrating, it’s the perfect kind of picture that taps into something far more than how horrific it is to watch people burn alive. Some of the best horror of the decade.
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