Saturday, July 20, 2019


★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

There are two distinct types of horror films today. The first is your more traditional style of horror, which mostly relies on jump scares & has a varying degree of atmospheric horror. This style can range from great (It) to awful (The Curse of La Llorona). The second is more classic, but has been demonstrated less & less recently in favor of the first style. This style has always been done very well, at the least, to masterful at the best.

Midsommar is the best use of that classic horror style I've ever seen. The film follows Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh), a college student. Although she has been in a relationship with fellow college student Christian Hughes (Jack Reynor) for 4 years, their relationship has become more emotionally distant, with Christian's friends Josh (William Jackson Harper) & Mark (Will Poulter) wanting him to break up with her due to her supposed neediness.

However, during the winter, a traumatic event in Dani's family occurs, & this brings Dani & Christian closer together as the year starts. That summer, Christian, Josh & Mark are invited by their friend & classmate Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) to come with him to the Swedish province of Hälsingland, specifically his commune of the Hårga, for the midsummer festival, which only occurs every 90 years. Dani is upset that Christian didn't tell her he was going, so as an apology, Christian invites her along, much to the chagrin of Mark.

When they arrive at the Hårga, they meet Simon (Archie Madekwe) & Connie (Ellora Torchia), a British couple who was brought there by Pelle's brother Ingemar (Hampus Hallberg). They all take psychedelic drugs, which give them varying trips. However, they find the festival to be a pleasant experience at first. But the festival is not as it seems, & that, along with tensions inside the group, threaten to make this a festival from hell.

The cast is terrific. Florence Pugh gives one of the best horror performances I've ever seen. She is a lethal mix of grief & terror. Jack Reynor is superb. William Jackson Harper is wonderful. Vilhelm Blomgren is delightfully mysterious. And Will Poulter is devilishly funny.

Ari Aster's direction is excellent. With Hereditary & now Midsommar, Aster has proven himself to be one of the best horror directors of this era. Aster is at his most visually striking, psychologically disturbing, &, surprisingly, his most hilarious.

Ari Aster's screenplay is brilliant. Aster never shows his hand with this script, only letting us slowly realize what's going on here. Also, the characters are terrifically well-written, & the dialogue is perfect & often very humorous.

Pawel Pogorzelski's cinematography is wondrous. The sun-draped Swedish landscape is beautifully captured, luring us into a false sense of security.

Lucian Johnston's editing is wonderful. Johnston drenches us with a slow pace that perfectly fits the film, making you feel as if you're in a nightmare from which you can't escape.

The sound design is impeccable. The sounds that are uttered in the film are horrifying to hear, & they are amplified to their biggest extent.

And Bobby Krlic's score is phenomenal. Krlic mixes between low-tone ambient sounds & striking violins, always giving us a sense of uneasiness.

This is the best horror film I've ever seen. It is incredibly well-acted, visually disturbing, & horrifying long after those credits roll.

Midsommar was seen by me at the MJR Marketplace Digital Cinema 20 in Sterling Heights, MI on Thursday, July 4, 2019. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 147 minutes, & it is rated R for disturbing ritualistic violence & grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use & language.

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