I am a junkie for horror movies. I will watch just about anything in the genre. The scarier the better, I say. Last year I saw Hereditary, which I deemed the scariest and best horror movie since The Exorcist. It’s a masterpiece for the genre in my opinion. Its greatest attribute was the way it began with a little spark of unease and never let up. The feeling of dread only ever grew more and more intense. There was never a moment, as in most horror movies, where you have a chance to exhale, to chuckle, or release the tension in any way. It just kept stoking the fire of discomfort all the way to the credits.
It was awesome.
That it was made by a first-time director, Ari Aster is even more astounding. Naturally I was eager to see what his follow-up feature would be.
Today it was released.
Midsommar is a movie about a Sweedish commune, filled with picturesque landscapes, beautiful people, bright skies, and the bizarre pagan rituals they still follow after thousands of years. On the surface it’s a great premise for a horror movie.
Too bad it forgot ever to be horrifying.
My full review will be up on Cultofwhatever soon, but in the meantime here’s a snippet, followed by the final grade:
You can forget all of that in Midsommar. This movie has loooong stretches of nothingness. Again, it's beautiful to look at, I gotta hand it to the cinematographer, art director, et al, but still: Nothing happens for dozens of minutes at a time, and then when something does happen, it's just bizarre for the sake of it. I can count on one hand the number of times I felt anything close to the feeling of dread and unease that Hereditary made me feel every second of its runtime.
Sorry I can't really talk about the movie, I can only talk around it. I can't talk about it because there's nothing to talk about. It's about a little Sweedish commune that holds to some pagan religious customs and a group of college kids visit and get roped into it. That sounds like a solid enough premise, but the movie wastes its opening hour saying what could be said in half the time, showing what could be shown in half the time, doing what could be done in half the time. It's not a "slow burn" because a "slow burn horror" eventually reaching a breaking point and becomes a frenetic, insane, pulse-pounding movie. It’s also not a horror because it never gets around to actually horrifying the audience.
5/10 - It was stupid. It wasn't gripping. It wasn't unsettling. It was occasionally (like, four occasions) shocking, but mostly long, slow, and dumb.