Following some truly stellar reviews for his creepy horror tale “Hereditary,” filmmaker Ari Aster returns with his new feature “Midsommar” which stays in the horror vein but offers a polar opposite in terms of look.
In the film Jack Reynor and Florence Pugh play a couple who travel to Sweden to attend a mid-summer festival. However, the vacation becomes something else as the locals seem to be less a festival crowd and more a cult.
The film has now screened for a first batch of critics with the reviews singing its praises, left stunned and confused by what they just saw. Here’s a sampling of quotes:
“Aster refashions “The Wicker Man” as a perverse breakup movie, douses Swedish mythology in Bergmanesque despair, and sets the epic collage ablaze. He may not land every big swing, but the underlying vision is hard to shake even when it falters.” – Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“Ari Aster is not afraid to go dark. His talent for putting deeply upsetting imagery onscreen is commendable, and is used to great effect here. Midsommar contains several sequences that will, in no uncertain terms, f–k up an audience member who doesn’t watch a lot of horror movies. Hell, I probably plow through a handful of horror movies every week, and even I was unnerved. But was I scared? Eh, that’s a different matter altogether. ” – Scott Wampler, BMD
“A rangier if less frightening film than Aster’s debut Hereditary, it suggests the budding auteur’s honeymoon with highbrow-horror fans isn’t over: He has more sides he wants to show them, and he’s willing to risk embarrassment to explore his vision. More unsettling than frightening, it’s still a trip worth taking.” – John DeFore, THR
“Aster gives us a slow-burning, boldly-made meditation on grief and the disintegration of a relationship in the loose frame of a folk horror film…It’s neither the masterpiece nor the disaster that the film’s most vocal viewers are bound to claim. Rather, it’s an admirably strange, thematically muddled curiosity from a talented filmmaker who allows his ambitions to outpace his execution” – Andrew Barker, Variety
“Midsommar might just be the year’s definitive take on the war of heterosexual coupling, on our constant wrestle with mortality, on the creeping fear that the devices and understandings of modern American life are perhaps inadequate tools to explain, and buttress us against, the mysteries of being.” – Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
“Those looking for a jump-a-minute scarefest should look elsewhere, as Midsommar has other things on its mind. The film is never outright scary, but similar to Ari Aster‘s Hereditary, it builds a significant amount of dread… What’s really surprising, though, is how Midsommar is funny, and intentionally so. Echoes of the dark comedy seen in other ignorant-Americans-in-a-foreign-country films… Aster has some fun, too, injecting a healthy dose of gallows humor into the proceedings. One minute you’ll be laughing at a pubic hair meat pie, and the next you’ll be cringing at some of the more grotesque displays of corpses to be found on this side of ‘Hannibal’.” – Trace Thurman, Consequence of Sound
More reviews can be found at Rotten Tomatoes. “Midsommar” hits cinemas July 3rd.