Callas Forever Movies
Dissecting Ari Aster’s Midsommar (2019)

Dissecting Ari Aster’s Midsommar (2019)

Those of us who were brave enough to watch Hereditary in 2018 are likely just recovering, but writer and director Ari Aster isn’t done with us yet. In fact, it would seem that he’s just getting started. There are many moments in Hereditary – for example that car scene – which are likely to live with us for years to come and by all accounts Midsommar is destined to be no different.

Surviving the First 15 Minutes

Amidst a bad long-term relationship with the careless Christian (Jack Reynor), Dani (Florence Pugh) agrees to join him and his 3 friends on a trip to a remote Swedish village to witness the solstice ritual of a seemingly harmless community of people. However, to get to this point in the film, the viewer must first survive the harrowing first 15 minutes of the film when Dani receives horrifying family news. These first moments are terrifyingly dramatized, so be prepared.

The Placid Tranquillity of a Solstice Ritual

The solstice ritual they hope to witness takes place in a remote Swedish village only once every 90 years, so the group see this as the opportunity of a lifetime. Immediately welcomed by a community of calm celebrants, the surroundings are bucolic in nature where the sun doesn’t set for days at a time. After surviving the first 15 minutes, the viewer is lulled into a placid tranquillity which easily belies the insidious events to come, but you may still want to give yourself a break to enjoy online roulette Australia before continuing.

A Severe Plunge into Insidious Intrigue

However, as you’ll quickly realise, the sense of foreboding felt in the beginning of the film is never far away and Midsommer quickly takes a plunge headfirst into insidious and murderous intrigue. While hoping to be seen as a harmless community of likeminded people, the best way to describe the residents of the remote Swedish village is a cult and truthfully no cult ever has benign intentions. While you’ll quickly be seduced by the breathtaking surroundings, one can’t help but that feel that something isn’t quite right.

An Overwhelming Sense of Otherworldly Dread

Ari Aster is certainly a master of the methodically crafted, slow-burner horror as seen in Hereditary and similarly, Midsommar will disturb you right until the credits roll. Even the natural beauty can’t mask the ever-encroaching and overwhelming sense of otherworldly dread and at 140 minutes, the sheer length of the maintained anxiety is impeccable. Furthermore, Florence Pugh’s depiction of Dani only cements the fact that she is one of the most talented actresses of her generation.

A Masterful Ode to Folk Horror

A horror subgenre briefly popularised in the mid-1970s, Midsommar is evidently Aster’s tribute to folk horror and it’s done with an incredibly deft hand. While The Wicker Man (1973) is certainly folk horror’s prime example, Midsommer may just join its ranks. This subgenre may be well-worn to many horror fans, but Aster’s aesthetic ode to folk horror translates into an innate understanding of panic, mourning, and fear. While not at all an easy watch, Midsommar is not to be missed.