MIDSOMMAR Review — It’s a Cruel, Cruel Summer

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Midsommar review — Ari Aster, the director of Hereditary, doubles down on the dread in his follow-up feature.

Dani (Florence Pugh) is a young woman with literally no one in the world. Her family is gone and while her long-term boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) is physically there, he’s emotionally elsewhere. Grasping at straws, a grief-stricken Dani invites herself along on a bros-only vacation to Sweden with Christian and his college buddies. Partier Mark (Will Poulter), studious Josh (William Jackson Harper), and Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) aren’t exactly thrilled to have a ball-and-chain come along, but they make the best of it.

The extremely isolated village is actually Pelle’s hometown, so he plays ambassador and interpreter as his American friends acclimate to the medieval way of life. Of course, some hallucinogenic drugs help bridge the gap as the reality of their remote location sets in.

Although the village is saturated in sunlight all day and night thanks to the summer solstice, darkness and evil intent make themselves known early on when the newbies witness a gory ritual that’s horrifying to them—but considered a happy occasion to the locals. WTF moment #1 of many. Needless to say, things plummet downhill from there and Dani comes to realize she can’t run away from her demons.

Midsommar writer-director Ari Aster made quite an impression last year with his dead-dark debut, Hereditary. While praise for star Toni Collette’s fearless performance as an unhinged mom was fairly universal, not everyone liked the movie. I have a feeling that Midsommar will be equally polarizing—but once again its lead actress will be praised.

23-year-old Pugh displays a feral emotional palate that belies her years. Midsommar has more in common with inaccessible cult thrillers like The Wicker Man (1973) and The Witch (2015) than mainstream horror faves like those in The Conjuring universe, but it may have some crossover appeal.

Beautifully crafted and creepily constructed (with, yes, a touch of plausible comedy) Midsommar is bound to burrow under the skins of horror fans and will more than likely be regarded as one of the best of its genre this year. Beware, though—it’s not for the faint of heart!

Rated R
2 Hours 20 Minutes

Does this Midsommar review make you want to want to take a mini-vacation in the movie theater? Get times and tickets at Fandango.com.

Midsommar review — Ari Aster, the director of Hereditary, doubles down on the dread in his follow-up feature.

 

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on StaciLayneWilson.com

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