Director Ari Aster
Genre Drama | Horror | Mystery
Cast Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, William Jackson Harper, Jack Reynor
Release Date July 3rd, 2019
Written and directed by Ari Aster, the man who brought us the horror hit Hereditary, Midsommar is a horror drama that tells the story of a couple who travel to Sweden to visit a rural hometown's fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult. The film is described as a summer road-trip movie enjoyed by a young woman and her boyfriend until they fall prey to a local pagan cult in Sweden.
By now the secret is out, talented writer and director Ari Aster probably pays out thousands of dollars a month on therapy (or at least he should). But, he is an extremely talented sick individual who has an eye for quality film making and the unique ability to produce a script sure to get underneath the audiences skin. Aster’s 2018 horror thriller Hereditary gave me actual chills (and still does when I think about it) and I left the theater with an uncomfortable feeling that I simply could not shake, and that is not easy to do. Due to the success of Hereditary he was able to deliver his next film Midsommar to the masses with expectations nearly through the roof. So, is he able to deliver yet again?
First and foremost, Midsommar is extremely well made and absolutely leaves an impression, but for me Hereditary was just a superior film overall. Aster was able to showcase his directorial skills with a number or gorgeous shots thanks to the films sitting, but at the end of the day he simply didn’t have as much to work with. Plus I think an advantage Hereditary had is it felt so close to home, whereas during Midsommar most of us are thinking no F’n way am I going anywhere near these maniacs (I know I was thinking that). This doesn’t mean the film is unable to get under your skin or make you feel genuinely uncomfortable (clearly a staple in this guys work), because it does. This Pagan cult BS is no joke, and I’m sure something like this is happening as I write this.
Ari Aster has something going on in that head of his and I don’t think anyone would debate that, I mean if you told me he grew up in some sort of a Pagan cult environment I would believe it. It would simply make sense. I went to see Midsommar with my lofty expectations thanks to Hereditary and I overall I was pleased, but not blown away. Similar to Hereditary things take some time to unfold, and the journey itself can feel a bit empty and boring at times, but always strange and unsettling. I was never quite sold on the relationship of the lead characters played by Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor, but I think the strain between them helps to energize the storyline as things move along. Once we get to the latter half of the film things really come together and start to put the exclamation mark on the tensions that had been boiling over for 2 hours or so and you will be thinking WTF just happened?! The payoff is strong, you just need to have patience. With that being said, don’t expect an ending with a nice bow on it either. The scene with the guy towards the end (no spoilers, don’t worry) made me legitimately appreciate the fact that I am no longer in my 20’s and playing the dating game. Nope, i’m good.
To summarize, Ari Aster is a sick minded yet uniquely talented individual and I will continue to support any project he puts his name on. Although it may not seem like it I really enjoyed Midsommar and admit it is a very well made film, I just think that the high expectations of Hereditary and the 2 1/2 hour runtime that is about 30 minutes too long, kept it from being great. But at the same time this gives me one more reason to make better decisions as far as who I decide to hang out with, or just to simply avoid any large group of people who decide that everyone wearing white is a good idea (I’ve seen The Leftovers, I know better). Either way, I’m looking forward to what Ari Aster has for us next time. Reccomended.
(Check out our review for Ari Aster’s Hereditary here http://tedtakes.com/brooklyn/2018/6/12/hereditary)