Main cast: Florence Pugh (Dani Ardor), Jack Reynor (Christian Hughes), William Jackson Harper (Josh), Vilhelm Blomgren (Pelle), Will Poulter (Mark), Ellora Torchia (Connie), and Archie Madekwe (Simon)
Director: Ari Aster
Wait, Ari Aster followed up the emotionally draining, truly frightening Hereditary with this soulless husk of a thing called Midsommar? Talk about a massive step down from the pedestal. This one is structurally similar to Hereditary, from the slow build-up to the nudity at the penultimate moments, heh, but it has nothing of what makes that previous movie good.
This one sees basically a bunch of people visiting a peaceful, pastoral commune in Sweden to witness a once-in-ninety-years midsummer celebration. The token minority and geek character Josh wants to do a thesis on the ceremonies during the celebration. He is friends with Christian, as well as a few other guys, and sadly, Christian decides to bring along his emotionally needy, whiny, and insufferable girlfriend Dani. Sure, Dani has issues – her sister killed her parents before offing herself – but she is also the kind of girl for whom there is a reason why guys don’t bring along for their boys-only trips: she whines, demands attention, and insists on making everything about herself.
Of course, there is only one clear “twist” here: the villagers turn out to be conducting a ceremony full of psychedelic drugs and actual human sacrifice, so unlike the previous movie, this one is like a The Hills Have Eyes or Wrong Turn movie that takes forever to get anything going. Even when the bad things start to happen, the movie decides to make everyone an idiot so that they won’t run away screaming the moment the first sacrifice happens. Thus, I have no sympathy for any of these people. If they have no sense of self-preservation, they deserve everything they get.
The biggest problem here is that there is no emotional core underneath the pretentious “We’re killing people… in an artful way, ooh!” nonsense. Dani is very unsympathetic: she uses Christian like an emotional tampon because she is entitled to that, but when the tables are turned, nah, men are bitches, she doesn’t need them, so bye. She is the poster girl for a MGTOW recruitment poster, and I have nothing but annoyance for her obvious final girl status.
Midsommar, ultimately, is a boring, scare-free movie with a dour lead heroine not worth rooting for. There is no plot, no build up, nothing. Just long, boring scenes of Swedes jumping around like a choreographed spring line enacting some eye-rolling dancing or swaying to whatever passes off as “ritual” here. Come on, surely everyone involved in this thing can do better.