Midsommar ★★★★

Swedish midsommar is probably my favorite tradition of a year, so let me just be clear: this is not how we do it, okay? With that aside, I have to admit that I love Ari Aster’s mixture of exotic weirdness and actual cultural traditions from Sweden. As they turn grotesque and horrendous, Midsommar could have easily been just a bunch of setpieces (all of whom are memorable snapshots of brutal pagan rites) but Aster integrates them so well in a genuine drama about Dani’s (Florence Pugh) journey. This makes the film have an increasing fascination even after the grotesqueries have been revealed; it’s constantly thrilling to see where things lead as it lures you into its bright framework, feeling just as hypnotic even without the influence of mushrooms.

Maybe not the emotional gut-punch that was Hereditary, but nonetheless an incredibly well-acted and nuanced relationship-hellscape lingering in the mind and cementing Aster as one of the prime horror artists of our time.

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