Highly strung Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) is left traumatised when her depressed sister kills both their parents and herself. Leaning heavily on distant boyfriend Christian, Christian’s friends implore him to end their on-going toxic relationship. However, when Christian wimps out and invites her to join their trip to an obscure Swedish folk festival, misery would seem to be also along for the ride.
However, despite Dani’s presence setting everybody on edge, the group eventually try to make the best of it. Even they relax into the warmth of the festival’s welcome, everything is still not what it seems to be, either with Dani or the hosts themselves…
… ‘Midsommar’ is the evil equinox you’ve been waiting for.
Following on from the seismic impact of ‘Hereditary’, Director Ari Astor returns with a horror mystery that straddles both the old and the new in a ritualistic horror that brims with style and wit.
Gliding between differing perspectives, ‘Midsommar’ is both the story of Dani and the ensemble she travels with. Hiding its clues in plain sight, Astor’s centrally composed camera increasingly pulls you into an ensnaring elegy, whilst peeling details off its cast as it goes. Increasingly magnified under the heat of a foreign culture and struggling with excess emotional baggage, the group starts to fracture, caught between both their own apprehension and the need for civility towards their hosts.
With its events foreshadowed through a series of tableau’d tapestries, and a sumptuous score slashing at your sense of alarm, ‘Midsommar’s’ destination never feels in doubt. That said, unlike its arguably thematic inspiration (‘The Wicker Man’), ‘Midsommar’ is a real sensorial seduction of its own. Pulling its characters through a shrinking needle of disbelief, the film, like its story lulls both you and its characters to a complicit sense of obedience. You don’t know exactly where ’Midsommar’ is going but you know you can’t look away either.
When its finale finally comes in a unified frenzy of unhinged song and dance, its consumption of your dread will be complete. Revelling in an operatic conclusion that closes on a lingering smile, ‘Midsommar’ reconciles both is its promise and execution with a vagueness that will inspire many a late-night debate.
Heavily reliant upon Florence Pugh’s fantastically nuanced performance and a superbly whingey Will Poulter, ‘Midsommar’ is the evil equinox you’ve been waiting for. Devoid of artifice, jumps scares and all of those other hackneyed hand-me-downs, this is a horror whose revisionism and ecstatic grace will eclipse their any of their consideration.
The Midsommar festival will be upon you shortly. Prepare to be entranced.