Re­view: ‘Midsommar’ creepy, yet, great as well

The Saline Courier - - NEWS - By J.T. John­son

“Midsommar” is the lat­est film from Ari Aster, the ac­claimed di­rec­tor of “Hered­i­tary,” an ef­fec­tive hor­ror film that sur­prised most when it was re­leased last year.

So far this year, “Midsommar” has been a hit with crit­ics but a lit­tle more po­lar­iz­ing with au­di­ence mem­bers. I’ll ad­mit that af­ter watch­ing the film, I un­der­stood why other film crit­ics were sing­ing its praises while also un­der­stand­ing why au­di­ences were di­vided on their thoughts.

The movie is def­i­nitely not for ev­ery­one. Not un­like “Hered­i­tary,” the film is a slow burn to a cli­mac­tic third act that is one of the most bizarre third acts that I’ve seen in some time. The movie also has sev­eral themes and in­ter­pre­ta­tions that can be made, so not ev­ery­one is go­ing to nec­es­sar­ily get the same ex­pe­ri­ence out of the movie.

One of the ma­jor themes that’s a lit­tle more ob­vi­ous than oth­ers is the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween our hero­ine Dani Ar­dor (Florence Pugh) and her emo­tion­ally dis­tant boyfriend Chris­tian (Jack Reynor). Dani suf­fers a hugely trau­matic loss in her fam­ily at about the same time that Chris­tian was con­tem­plat­ing dump­ing her.

This event forces them to stay to­gether and Chris­tian re­luc­tantly in­vites her to go to Swe­den with him and his friends.

Once in Swe­den, their friend, Pelle (Vil­helm Blom­gren), takes them to his small com­mune where he grew up. It is a beau­ti­ful place with wide open fields sur­rounded by the for­est. The com­mune also has plenty of dark se­crets that un­ravel as the film pro­gresses.

As I men­tioned be­fore, though, there are many themes to this movie, in­clud­ing tragedy, men­tal health is­sues and re­la­tion­ships.

Aster proves once again to be an ex­pert at his craft. The film is at once beau­ti­ful, yet, oddly un­set­tling. You might be star­ing out into the fields and ini­tially think that noth­ing is wrong, but then you’ll no­tice that the whole scene is sub­tly mov­ing in un­nat­u­ral ways, mak­ing the au­di­ence feel as though they have been drugged.

For the most part, you see this world through the eyes of Dani and Pugh gives an award-wor­thy per­for­mance. You are on her emo­tional ride and Pugh does a great job of mak­ing you in the au­di­ence feel what she is go­ing through the whole way. Her in­sanely good per­for­mance is one of the first things that hooked me when start­ing the film.

She is also sup­ported by a great sup­port­ing cast in­clud­ing Reynor, Blom­gren and the peo­ple who ef­fec­tively bring the Hårga com­mune to life. Reynor plays Chris­tian as a guy that feels like he is stuck in an emo­tion­less re­la­tion­ship rather than just play­ing him as an un­car­ing man which could have been an easy trap for him to fall into. On the other hand, Blom­gren plays Pelle as a man who seems to have good in­ten­tions but there is al­ways a sub­tle hint of men­ace about him that he never lets you for­get.

The hor­ror in the film is more about the hor­rors of the mind and about set­ting a gen­uinely creepy tone. There are mo­ments of in­tense vi­o­lence, but Aster only uses these mo­ments to en­hance a true turn­ing point in the story.

The en­tire movie is also helped by a haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful score by Bobby Kr­lic.

At this point, I can’t get too far into the movie with­out pro­vid­ing ma­jor spoil­ers. I will say, though, that there were mo­ments that were a bit rough to take and the au­di­ence that I was with found them­selves ner­vously laugh­ing at some of the things that were oc­cur­ring.

The movie is def­i­nitely not for ev­ery­one, but it can’t be de­nied that this is a pretty good and dis­turb­ing hor­ror film from Aster, a film­maker that is prov­ing to be one heck of an au­teur film­maker.

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