I wasn’t expecting much from Ari Aster’s new horror Midsommar, after spending two hours cringing and laughing at Hereditary last year, and maybe that’s why it was so impressive. But in my soul I know that even if I’d had no preconceptions, this film would have hit me just as hard.
It was an absolute aesthetic dream of a film. The yellows and greens of the month of June found beauty in horror. The brightness of flowers and blood against the hazy acidic effect of swirling scenery were mesmerising. The disturbing silence placed the spectator in a liminal space between supernatural and psychological - constantly stuck in what felt like a heat stroke fever dream.
It isn’t so much scary, as it is truly horrifying.
Midsommar is ultimately a feminine revenge story. We follow Dani, a young woman dealing with trauma and receiving support from her boyfriend, Christian. Instead he gaslights her and talks negatively about her to his friends. Her panic attacks and flashbacks are felt by every woman in the audience, ourselves becoming the women of the cult, feeling everything that Dani, and all our sisters in the real world feel. Dani’s ultimate catharsis is enjoyed by us, swaddled in the feminine embrace of midsummer flowers and sun.
A standout feature was the importance placed on the unity of the group. They love together, and they cry together - they make up one single being and become art through their unity.
Even to someone who’s not usually a fan of horror, it is still an ideal film. There is no relying on tropes such as darkness, jumpscares or nursery rhymes. There is a heavy amount of gore, but it doesn’t feel overused, but just present enough to enhance confusing feelings of awe, beauty, and repulsion. It isn’t so much scary, as it is truly horrifying.