A beautifully freakish production with so much to say, but my word is it not for anyone with a weak stomach or a hatred for bloodshed
It’s evident that behind its hauntingly bizarre plot line, and cultist ideologies, Midsommar is a horror film for a modern audience, favouring anything that isn’t a jump scare. Yet, that’s not modern horror. Modern horror has a new height. Get Out, Hereditary, Us, Suspiria; all features that want to tap into current scares and ongoing fear, with a strong sense of the supernatural contrasting the unpredictable nature of the modern world, especially that of supposedly ‘advanced’ western countries.
Midsommar does slide into these categories, but in a new way. It takes the mundane world from its comfort, and puts it inside a ritualistic society with practices that seem not just ancient but disturbing. Balancing these contrasting worlds, offering a true spectrum of positives and negatives of both sides, Midsommar becomes even more confusing than it already was. Combine this with the hazy, twisting cinematography and the powerfully medieval nature of the entire piece, the film becomes a fully fledged absurdity opening endless questions and closing some in ways you’d wish you didn’t know the answer to.
When Dani (Florence Pugh) is struck by a family tragedy, her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) feels pressured to invite her on his own holiday to celebrate the Swedish festival of Midsommar. Upon arrival, the group are met by the entire community, embraced into their simple and tradition filled way of life. However, after the festivities truly begin, they soon realise the celebration of Midsommar is far more unknown and mysterious than they had ever imagined.
Holding strong on its themes of grief and difficult relationships, director Ari Aster has even described the film as ‘a break-up movie’, placing Midsommar as a particularly strong actualisation of ambiguity. As is so common with these fresh breakout horrors, the gore and visual obscenities are purely a superficial layer of grease coating the surface of the feature’s deep skin. Midsommar heightens all of its senses, offering a fully immersive film with something to offer in every one of its outlets.
The story holds intuitive and original for a very extended period, and despite its length, never does it drag. The theming and pacing is set at just the right tone to loop each connecting sequence together, opening up the wider lore and realistic side of such a dark story. This is only enhanced by the magnificent Florence Pugh, offering not just her best performance to date, but one of the most harrowing and grief ridden displays cinema will ever see. Her portrayal of extreme loss is simply just as horrifying at the terrible imagery Midsommar swims in throughout the entire feature.
It never holds back, and never shies from the height of strange. Featuring endless blood, gore, sex, mutilation, drugs, fear and some of the most disturbing images anyone will ever see, Midsommar still manages to be so, so much more. It’s a beautifully freakish production with so much to say, but my word is it not for anyone with a weak stomach or a hatred for bloodshed.
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