Direction: Ari Aster
Country: Sweden / USA
After the large-scale success of Hereditary, 33-year-old American cineaste Ari Aster holds on to the horror genre and writes Midsommar, a foreboding story set in rural Sweden that comes impregnated with folklore, symbology, trauma, suicide, and slaughter. Leaving the supernatural behind in favor of the cult thematic, the filmmaker manages to get a satisfying outcome.
The film stars Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor as Dani and Christian, respectively, an American couple on the verge of breaking up, which, nevertheless, decides to go on a trip - previously planned without Dani’s knowledge - to Sweden, where they expect to attend a supposedly innocuous midsummer festival that only occurs every 90 years. The nine-day event, organized by the Harga ‘family’, hosts four more guests: Christian’s college mates Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter), who were also invited by Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren), a common friend and long-time member of the commune, and an English couple that arrived with the encouragement of Pelle's brother, Ingemar (Hampus Hallberg).
What should have been a relaxed time of cultural enjoyment becomes a creepy nightmare as the pagan cult uses the foreigners for their diabolical ritualistic practices and exceptional competitions.
Although the revelations are envisaged beforehand, the film still manages to counterpoint slightly disturbing conducts with familiar paranoia-induced passages. Everything is captured by Pawel Pogorzelski’s appealing lensmanship, which balances the scenic and the repulsive, while Aster maintains an unsettling atmosphere for the entire147 minutes through a deliberate pace and the help of a competent cast.
What Midsommar lacks in originality, it more than makes up for with offbeat moments adorned with gut-wrenching eccentricities. Nonetheless, it was merely entertaining, even occasionally funny, but never truly scary.