“I was most excited for you to come” — the words in the “Midsommar” ad roll, pulled out of the film’s common context, appear to be directly dedicated to the prospective movie viewer. But even watching the previous Ari Aster film “Hereditary” won’t help prepare for the adventure that the new director has prepared for us on a silver screen for a golden summer climax.
Instantly a noticeable director’s desire to create a film based on the traditions of horror films of the 1960 s and 1970 s. The 70 s of the last century, in general, can be called the revival of horror films when the hippie spirit of the 60 s has disappeared with the work of Charles Manson’s cult. The horror cinema renaissance was launched by Romance Polansky, with his masterpiece, “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), known not only as a movie classic but as a cinema classic in general. This is one of the works in which Aster has taken inspiration. Robin Hardy’s “The Wicker Man” (1973) must also be mentioned. Yet in terms of the mood of “Midsommar” and “The Wicker Man,” it seems completely different. The script and visual design for both works undeniably resemble each other, but it must be acknowledged that the vision and purpose of Midsommar’s inner work are more reminiscent of Luca Gvadaninjo’s “Suspiria” and Darena Aronofsky’s “Mother!”.
After watching Midsommar, it does not leave the feeling that Aster has embarked on a new wave of affectionate horror cinema, generally knowing the classical elements of this genre very well, but consciously avoiding them. It is this director’s work strategy that strikes the audience, even more, breaking the safe foundation under his feet without knowing what to expect. As the film works out during the summer solstice, when the light celebrates its victory march, at least in theory, the viewer’s sense of time is being modified. Nearly two and a half hours spent in the cinema are lost. The film’s narrative mostly develops relatively slowly, but it must be said that this is the case of “slower driving, you will go” because it highlights the turbulent end of the film.
The reason why Aster’s films are mostly seen as breathless for the horror genre might be that they are not at all owned by this genre. The director himself has repeatedly confirmed this in his interviews. Namely, the director doesn’t design his films as a tribute to the horror genre. In his own words, “Midsommar” can be described as a fairy tale for adults, “Wizard of Oz for perverts” (“The magician of the Oza Land for virtues”). The elements of horror achieve their manifestation through the suppressed emotions of the narratives, highlighting and reinforcing them. Like the first work of Aster, “Midsommar” is filled with lots of open marks that show the film’s future passage. The viewer needs to pay attention to everything in every frame. In this respect, Aster’s films resemble theatrical shows known for – if anything on stage – it will certainly be used. This philosophy is also revealed in camera work: a relatively large-angle frame has been used, as if by spreading everything in front of the viewer without hiding anything.
In the Midsommar-inspired solstice cult together, the sense of being interrupts with the traditional and simultaneously aristocratic in its defined hierarchy and the European bacchanal bordering on agony. However, even the defined community hierarchy seems deceptive or contradictory, since even the most respected members of the community are demanding the sacrifice of their egos in front of more determined forces, laws. Absolutely everything its tributes perform is like ritual or game, even the most mundane actions. Despite the grotesque end of the film, which seems to take over not only the mind but the whole body, I want to see it as happy. Why? Next, some spoilers (highlight the next few lines to read). The protagonist finds the lost family in the community and frees relations in raucous, vicarial rituals. A very positive story, looking from such a viewpoint. This comment must, of course, be read with a great dose of sarcasm, but also most of the film is viewed with the same.