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.
Many people, including me, became interested in Midsommar based on the strength of Aster's breakout debut, Hereditary. Midsommar is not Hereditary II. Hereditary is mostly an unflinching family drama with horror elements imbued. Midsommar feels more like a mystery or thriller, only using the drama elements mostly as a setup. However, there are a a lot of similarities - both films contain extreme grief, the occult, a genetically deficit child, and fractured skulls. The most important similarity of all is they are both great films.
Although labeled a horror film, Midsommar is intentionally funny. Mark, played by Will Poulter, adds a dose of refreshing levity I didn't know I needed in an Aster film. Midsommar is also immensely tense - more so than Hereditary. Throughout the entire film you are constantly wary of the unsettling scenario, and anxiously on watch for the next shocking incident. I didn't feel its longer runtime at all. Apparent from the trailers and other promotional material, the film is gorgeous. It's unapologetically bright and colorful. It has subtle but mesmerizing visual effects that make it obvious the filmmaker has had some experience with hallucinogens. Another surprising element I liked was the subplots between the main characters - especially the thesis conflict. It added another layer of complexity and realism to make viewers invested in the story.
Ari Aster made another special film. I can't wait to see what he does next.