Jay Dubb here with another movie review! This week I checked out Ari Aster’s highly anticipated ‘Midsommar’ – the follow-up to his debut masterpiece Hereditary! As always, a quick 30-second review is followed by a full review. Is Midsommar as scary as the trailers suggest? Does it hold up to the hype? Find out below!
30 SECOND REVIEW:
Ari Aster made waves with the brilliantly fucked-up movie ‘Hereditary’. That will always be his calling card for the rest of his career. ‘Midsommar’ sounds like, looks like, and FEELS like so much insanity is going to happen. A group of college friends take a nice summer vacation to an idyllic Swedish commune where everything looks postcard perfect. Weird shit happens. But after sitting through 2hr 30min, you’re left with something you’ve seen before – only in an hour less time. What I had in my mind and what I watched didn’t match up. Bummer.
There was soooooo much anticipation surrounding this movie, and rightfully so! If you haven’t seen Ari Aster’s debut masterpiece ‘Hereditary’ yet, that shit is a new standard for horror movies. Hereditary checks so many boxes on so many levels – as a psychological drama, as a horror mystery, as a edgy family crisis and finally, on some serious ‘What in the entire history of F$%K just happened??’ – type shit. Hereditary makes you feel BAD for watching it. I had to go home and watch cartoons to fall asleep. It is THAT kind of movie. There is Nothing else quite like.
‘Midsommar‘, is NOT that kind of movie. lol
Rather than a straight up Horror movie, Midsommar plays more like a twisted fairy tale. In fact, I’ma say that Midsommar is Ari Aster taking a breather and releasing as his passion project. I think he just put this out there to tide us over until his NEXT real mind-fuck. At least…I hope so.
It actually starts off great.
And by ‘great’ I mean Ari Aster doing Ari Aster things – which means hitting us early with emotional baggage. Like the funeral scene in Hereditary, Ari Introduces another emotionally traumatized female lead (Florence Pugh) with some SERIOUS family issues. On top of that, she’s in the throes of an impending breakup. The tension is set for some intense mind-fuckery. I didn’t mind the 2hr:30min run time because I know what Aster is capable of. So I settle in, soak it all up, And I’m waiting for WOW to happen.
And I’m waiting.
TBH, Midsommar is probably a really good movie, but Hereditary is Sooo fuckin amazing it makes this pale in comparison. When I didn’t walk away feeling emotionally gutted like Hereditary did to me, I felt a bit empty.
I guess my biggest gripe is that around the 1hr:40min mark I already guessed at the ending – which left a full 40 minutes of sitting there, hoping something ELSE would happen. But nothing else really happens. Despite all the strange rituals and really bad decisions… Midsommar unfolds slowly and shockingly predictable.
Bizarre Swedish folklore storyline and blinding daylight madness aside… When all said and done, It falls into that bland category of ‘horror movie white people making questionable choices and paying dearly for it‘. Similar to oh, lets see…. EVERY OTHER HORROR MOVIE LIKE THAT 😛 (take your pick from the past 4 decades).
I was hoping at some point the movie went COMPLETELY off the rails and into unknown, uncharted territory. It teases, but then it does not. It plays out exactly how you THINK it will. In fact, in a weird meta-twist, it invokes some ‘Cabin in the Woods‘ type of ritualistic ceremony (really, skin the fool?) – which is ironic since ‘Cabin’ satirized horror movies.
The whole talk your buddies into a camping trip that goes wrong scenario has been done TIME and TIME again. At best you get The Descent. At worse, you get Friday the 13th, Part whatever (‘hey let’s go BACK to Crystal Lake even though people die there every year!)
I wanted Ari to surprise me and rip my soul apart (again), instead I got annoyed and started talking to the characters on the screen, ‘For god’s sake….Just LEAVE!’
I actually thought Williams Jackson Harper’s character was going to say ‘Hey guys i figured it out – we’re in a horror movie! (he does not)
I like William Jackson Harper. After he dies (non-spoiler. Black man in a horror movie? C’mon now) – I wasn’t invested in the movie anymore. What we are left with is The Fool (dead), Supposed Hero Man, Survival Girl, and two anonymous Reddit ‘throwaway profile’ characters/ Star Trek red-shirt yeoman (You knew they were going to die immediately).
Look, I’m a fan of Aster. Ari clearly loves blending folklore cult horror with family grief. That’s his THING the way Jordan Peele blends horror with social commentary. Both are horror wunderkinds and I’m STILL a fan of them. But Midsommar just didn’t work for me. Which sucks be cause I REALLY really wanted to like it. I’ll say it again…
I WANT to like this movie! I really do!
If this was a Netflix documentary about IRL bizarre Swedish cult rituals?- Oh man, this shit would be DOPE AF! IF this was real, It’s just the right amount of crazy. Buuut…as a horror movie it doesn’t do enough crazy to justify the hype. I’ve seen this before and better (Wicker Man, Kill List). Therefore, in good conscious I can only give it
(out of 5 ceremonial ritual wreaths!)