Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Writer/Director: Ari Aster
Starring: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, Henrik Norlen.
Depressed and traumatised after a family tragedy, student Dani (Florence Pugh) joins her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his college mates as they take a trip to Sweden. They have been invited by their Swedish friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) to attend a special midsummer celebration at his ancestral home in Hälsingland.
Pelle’s home is a fairly small private commune and although they hold the midsummer celebrations every year, this year they are holding a very special festival that only occurs once every 90 years.
Christian’s friends Josh (William Jackson Harper) and Mark (Will Poulter) aren’t fans of Dani and in fact, Christian was preparing to break up with her but his plans went awry after Dani experienced the family tragedy.
Christian reluctantly invites Dani, assuring his friends that she won’t join them on the trip and that he only invited her to be polite, but of course, she decides to join them, much to their dismay.
Upon arriving at the commune, they are met by the friendly, polite residents and made to feel welcome as they relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and a nice meal (or cup of tea in Dani’s case) of hallucinogenic mushrooms.
They make friends with another visiting couple, Simon (Archie Madekwe) and Connie (Ellora Torchia) and things seem to be going very well.
If that was the case though, we wouldn’t have much of a movie so it’s not too long before people start disappearing, pubic hairs are found in homemade pies and pensioners find out that flying isn’t really for them.
Ari Aster made quite an impression on the industry with his 2018 release, Hereditary, which he also wrote and directed. However here at Reel Horror Show, the impression that Hereditary made on us, wasn’t a particularly good one thanks to the rather daft ending. I’m a little more forgiving about it than Lee, but then again, he did go to a viewing where the audience was laughing at the silliness of the final act.
We both felt very disappointed by it because initially we were really enjoying the film and even though we saw it at separate showings we both had it pegged as being one of our top ten horror films of the year, until that ridiculous ending.
As for Midsommar, well, visually, the film is amazing. It is downright beautiful at times and even when it mixes the wonderful visuals with the sudden moments of horror, it is still stunning to look at. The camerawork, directing and editing all work very well and it was refreshing to see a horror movie that was mostly set in full daylight and yet still manages to convey a creepy atmosphere at times.
At least, it did initially.
Because unfortunately, most of the film was a disjointed mess.
For starters let me go into the sudden moment of horror that I’ve just mentioned.
The group have been invited to witness a ceremony only to find their initial sense of curiosity and wonder smashed apart like a pensioner taking a swan dive onto some rocks because that’s exactly what happens.
Again the visuals were fantastic.
Brutal, but still fantastic. Although I couldn’t help wonder why when the old chap took his turn to fling himself from a cliff, he decided to jump feet first and smash his legs apart on impact and therefore leave himself squealing in pain. Surely he’s witnessed this ceremony before as it is something they all go through when they hit a certain age? What's even worse is that people must fuck up the act of cordless bungee jumping so often, they have to have a big mallet on standby to finish off anyone who is still alive after their jump, you would think they would have found a more efficient method by now.
But what made that scene worse was the reaction from Dani and her friends who went from, “Holy shit, what the fuck did we just see?” to “never mind, it’s just their quaint old fashioned ways.” That was made even more annoying by the fact that Simon and Connie the tourists/guests/victims that did object and wanted to leave, suddenly disappeared without saying a word and Dani and the group just seem to accept that and get over any concerns they may have had, very quickly.
Speaking of strange disappearances, one thing that really baffled me is what happened to all the other guests? We initially see Dani’s group along with Simon and Connie and quite a few other folks scattered around. But those others, who are never introduced, simply evaporate from the film. No one seems to notice, no one questions where they are, they’re just gone.
You could say that it adds to the mystery and that’s fine, but for me, it was just another checkmark on the list of why I found the film to be a mess.
In fact, I found it so nonsensical and disjointed that it resembled a jigsaw puzzle that had been put together by a group of inmates at a lunatic asylum. Some of it has been put together well and the odd person has an idea of what the finished image should look like, but the majority of it has been made by random mental patients simply grabbing any-old piece and hammering it into place with no thought as to where it goes or even if it fits properly.
And once again you could call me out by saying that I simply didn’t get it and I would agree with you.
I didn’t get it.
I didn’t get why the end of the film featured a girl who looked pissed off because she appeared to have been pushed into the flower display at a garage forecourt.
I didn’t get why a guy was placed inside a bearskin but with his face still showing so that he looked like the worlds most miserable of theme park entertainers at the end of a long day.
I didn’t get why those images and costumes were so laughably bad that the actors could keep a straight face and that no one thought to tell Ari Aster how hilariously daft it looked.
Because I did find it hilarious.
Unintentionally so as I’m sure that wasn’t the desired response, but it looked too silly to be taken seriously.
I think the best way to sum this up would be to say that if you enjoyed Hereditary and didn’t find the ending ruined it for you, then, by all means, give this a shot. It has a runtime of just over 140 minutes with a director’s cut that runs at around 170 minutes, which may actually make the film a little less incongruous, but I honestly don’t think I could sit through it again to find out.
For those of you that didn’t like Hereditary, then be warned that this is pretty much the out-of-place ending of that film, only this time for the majority of the movie.
Like the puzzle in the lunatic asylum, you could analyse it for ages to try and interpret its overall meaning or even discover that if you look at it a certain way, a different image is shown. But will it be worth it? For me, the final picture just wasn't that satisfying.
It was impressive to look at but was far too discordant and lacking in any harmony to be anything more than a jumbled mess.
To purchase Midsommar on Blu-Ray go here:
UK readers can find it here: