Morbidly Beautiful

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Midsommar

Our staff heads to the theater to check out “Midsommar”, Ari Aster’s highly anticipated and polarizing follow up to his breakout horror hit “Hereditary”.

Intro by Angry Princess (Editor-in-Chief)

Last year’s Hereditary took its place among a select group of modern horror films that have taken my breath away in the most unexpected of ways, shaken me to my core, and left me spinning in my head for days and weeks afterwards. Needless to say, when news of Ari Aster’s sophomore film Midsommar broke, it immediately catapulted to the top of my most anticipated horror films of 2019. The fact that it also had strong folk horror undertones only heightened my anticipation.

Full disclosure: I went into my viewing of Midsommar with a mix of heady anticipation and nervous anxiety, desperate to love it and terrified I might not. Expectations and relentless hype are a hell of a hard climb for any filmmaker — even one as undeniably skilled and creatively innovative as Aster.

A two and half hour slow burning indie horror film about grief, loss, fractured relationships, and individual versus communal identity?

That’s nothing if not incredibly bold and remarkably unconventional.

Let’s face it, this was a film that was bound to polarize audiences. As you can tell from the mixed bag of reviews from our writers, this isn’t a film you feel kind of lukewarm about. It will either stir your soul in indescribable ways, washing over you in a wave of hypnotic beauty and exquisite emotion. Or it will leave feeling cold, detached, and confused by reviews that hail it as a triumph of cinematic achievement.

As for me, I stand firmly in the former’s court, feeling an overwhelming mix of impossible-to-articulate emotions — having been completely and unabashedly swept up in the extraordinary beauty and evocative nature of the film. As far as I’m concerned, Ari Aster is part of the next generation of genre greats and true artistic pioneers. I hope he continues to hone his remarkably unique voice, telling more compelling and deeply affecting stories about human pain and suffering.

Part of what makes Midsommar so difficult to review — and so difficult for some viewers to fully connect with — is that it is not just a film to be watched and enjoyed in a purely narrative fashion.

Rather, this is a film meant to be experienced as a mind-warping, hallucinogenic trip to and through the depths of psychological hell and back. Juxtaposed with the breathtaking beauty of the film, with sweeping cinematography and masterful camerawork, is a character study in trauma and mental illness.

Through this swirling, dizzying mix of beauty and brutality, community and isolation, tranquility and anxiety, we become disoriented — having no choice but to either disconnect or completely sink into the mystifying experience.

The reviews below are meant to give you a few unique experiences on a film that’s likely to impact every viewer in a completely different way. Just keep in mind that nothing we say can really ready you for the experience of Midsommar. Forget the hype. Forget the hate. Go in clean and with an open mind. Whether it’s the ultimate mind-altering trip or an overly long and meandering road to nowhere, one thing’s for certain: you’re not prepared for this journey. 


TAKE ONE: A BREATHTAKING TRIP DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

By Joe Quinones

Midsommar, writer/director Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary proves that he is a force of nature to watch for in