October Countdown: Midsommar (2019)

A Beltane festival takes place at the summer solstice1, as American visitors get predictably much more involved in a pagan festival than they were expecting.  This movie receives lots of glowing reviews, which this will not be.  Did you enjoy The VVitchHereditary? Then this movie is for you!  If not, a re-watch of The Wicker Man might please you more.

Title: “Midsommar

Director and Writer: Ari Aster

Cast:

Florence Pugh as Dani
Jack Reynor as Christian
Vilhelm Blomgren as Pelle
William Jackson Harper as Josh
Will Poulter as Mark
Ellora Torchia as Connie
Archie Madekwe as Simon
Henrik Norlén as Ulf
Gunnel Fred as Siv
Isabelle Grill as Maja
Agnes Westerlund Rase as Dagny (as Agnes Rase)
Julia Ragnarsson as Inga
Mats Blomgren as Odd
Lars Väringer as Stev
Anna Åström as Karin

Premise:

A couple travels to Sweden to visit a rural hometown’s fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult. (From IMDB.)

Low Point:

The pace is very slow.  There are long periods of what my wife and I refer to as “arranging matches.”  Typically, I don’t mind a slow burn, but this movie was predictable enough that I spent over two hours of the runtime waiting for them to get to the events we saw coming.

High Point:

The movie is shot very well, and it looks pretty.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The movie wouldn’t have been this predictable if they weren’t rehashing things that had seen many, many times before.

Effects: 4/6 There are some subtle effects, which are done well, but nothing above the level of a prime time television show.

Acting: 3/6 At the outset, our female lead has a breakdown, which was very believable.  After that, everyone seemed to be acting confused more than anything else.

Production: 4/6 There weren’t any technical issues with this movie.  There are a lot of scenes shot through a mirror, but they seemed very proud of being able to do this shot and overused it.  It felt like a Shyamalan film.

Story: 3/6 There was hamfisted exposition, but there weren’t any holes in the story except for the giving us motivation for the first deaths.

Emotional Response: 1/6 The characters did not illicit any sympathy or empathy, even when being confronted with murdered friends.

Overall: 2/6 There are better options for just about anything this movie offers.

In total, “Midsommar” receives 19/42.

October 5: The Joker (2019)
October 12: Hail, Satan? (2019)
October 19: One Cut of the Dead (2017-Japan and 2019-USA)
October 26: Midsommar (2019)
October 31: Judging from our votes thus far, we’ll be reviewing three different incarnations of The Cat and the Canary. But feel free to go back to that post and vote for one of the others.

 

1 As opposed to The Wicker Man, where they perform harvest rituals at Beltane and filmed it after Samhain.

5 replies on “October Countdown: Midsommar (2019)”

  1. I am not watching anymore A24 movie again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, I finally learn my lesson.

    Hopefully.

  2. JD DeLuzio says:

    See, I’ll probably enjoy this, given some of my past preferences that you mention in the introduction. However, I won’t see it until next week, so my own reaction will have to wait.

    I didn’t worry about spoilers. I suspected from the first trailer where this film was heading, and I don’t imagine I’ll be surprised.

  3. JG says:

    It’s hard to imagine disagreeing with a review more than I do with this one. This is absolutely one of the best horror films of recent years…and how one cannot feel sympathy for the characters (particularly the wrenching, consuming grief experienced by the main character) completely escapes me.

    Though I do agree that one’s enjoyment of this film will track very closely with how much one appreciated Hereditary and The Witch. It’s definitely more “Mike Flanagan” than “James Wan”.

    • I appreciate that, I am glad that there are people that do enjoy this. It is shot beautifully, but as a horror movie, I would rather go watch Get Out or Us. As a witchy movie, I’ll take the original Wicker Man.

      • JD DeLuzio says:

        Granted, but this is where online reviews so often fall apart. You agree that the film is “shot beautifully.” Objectively, whether you enjoy this movie or not, the production is exceptional. I wasn’t as enamored of The Joker as many people are, but I readily gave it the production and the acting. And this film is well-acted, very naturally acted (overall).

        We won’t get into emotional response. That has always been all over the map with their films and the different audiences they attract or repel.

        Also, you’re eschewing all A24 films? Eighth Grade? Moonlight? Ex Machina? Even The Spectacular Now and Lady Bird have their charms…. Tastes vary, absolutely, but A24 is having a significant impact on the industry, and generally for the better. It seems a little over-the-top to avoid everything they do.

        I would say my review would have come in at about a 32.

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