So I just got back from seeing Ari Aster’s new film Midsommar…
Midsommar tells the story of a young girl named Dani. After her parents and sister die in a tragic murder suicide, her boyfriend Christian decides to take her on a trip to Sweden with 3 of his University buddies. Visiting one of his friend’s communal home, Christian and Dani soon discover that this village of people is not what it seems to be, and long stemming problems in their relationship will boil over as their trip devolves into chaos.
Aster does it again. Another hell of a horror movie.
Good script, amazing characters and performances (Florence Pugh was absolutely brilliant as the tormented Dani), amazing cinematography and editing, great score (all of these dissonant strings and chanting drums created this very uncomfortable and incredible tense atmosphere), interesting imagery, etc.
There are two things that Ari Aster does really well. The first is managing to pull out these incredibly visceral and emotional performances out of his actors. The beginning of this film, where Florence Pugh was screeching and wailing because her sister and parents died was so uncomfortable and so intense. It was amazing.
The second thing that Aster does is shot composition. Holy hell, the cinematography in this movie is out of this world. The framing of his movies are so scientific and so visually dense. You could spend a long time just looking at one still image from the movie and analyzing what is going on and how it is adding to the film and the emotions it is trying to make you feel.
One issue, however, I am noticing with Ari Aster as a filmmaker/writer is that he is predictable. Not in a cliche, uninspired sort of way though. It’s more that his films are so well set up and he spells himself out with visuals and key dialogue, that you can see where the film is going once a certain point hits. I knew this was some weird cult that is gonna sacrifice these people the minute they landed in Sweden. It was still interesting, and a fascinating display of film language, but I really wish he didn’t telegraph his shit so hard.
I’ll end on this note. Aster has said that Midsommar is his last horror movie. He says he wants to do other sorts of films. Rom-Coms, musicals, animated films, etc. Based on this film, and Hereditary, the sky is the limit for Aster, because he’s shown he can master a genre, and do interesting things in that genre. Midsommar is another really good, and maybe even great, horror film from this talented director who is just ready to break out and make a masterpiece. Recommended.
8.5 out of 10