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Film Review: “Midsommar” (2019) ★★★★★


After hearing multiple opinions about “Midsommar”, borrowing the concept of human sacrifice or ritual killing from “The Wicker Man” (1971), especially connecting it with the similar ending both titles share, I decided to give it a shot. After seeing both films, I can tell for sure, there is no such film that can own one concept or another. Writer or directors should be able to revisit the same concept, work around it, and deliver the best they can. What “Midsommar” does is impressive, gruesome, and captures that vulnerability humans have  – an evolving mind that can be either freed from prejudices or get brainwashed.

Dani (Florence Pugh) receives a terrible news; her bipolar sister, after having an apparent encounter with her parents, kills them and herself. Completely devastated, her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor), not to look bad, invites her to visit his rural hometown in Sweden called Halsingland, that is about to celebrate a Midsummer that occurs only once every ninety years. They don’t realize that soon they will become a part of a sinister ritual that involves human sacrifice. However, by the time when the festivity starts, there will be no way out, and if there’s any, that can barely be called a happy ending.

When the film starts, the only character appearing to be sympathetic is Dani as Christian appears to be tired of Dani’s emotional breakdowns and was seeking a way out of this disastrous relationship. His friends, Josh (William Jackson Harper), Mark (Will Poulter), and Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) are not supporting as they feel comfortable enough to discuss Dani right behind her back with no objection from Christian. During that turbulent relationship, a decision was made to accept Pelle’s invitation and travel to a small town to write a thesis about it and enjoy the summer. But what they were led to believe in the beginning turns into a dangerous game; the small town will turn into their last refuge and prison with no exit doors.

Ari Aster, the director of Hereditary pens and directs “Midsommar”, opening a new page for an era of horror films. Seeing as much as I could, none of them made recently had an impact like “Midsommar” has on its fully engaged audience. Largely, it’s all because of the absolutely shocking realistic performances delivered by the entire cast including Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter, Vilhelm Blomgren, and William Jackson Harper. As for the Swedish cast, you will have to see to believe me – there were no creepier performances I’ve seen in a while that would scare me to my core. This is what makes “Midsommar” so exceptional – all elements were interconnected in creating a subtle horror that you sure will talk for long about it after you watch it.

To conclude, “Midsommar” explores contemporary human sacrifice, people that believe through dying they will bring prosperity to their land. More importantly, the character arc of Dani begins changing so rapidly in the light of her trauma and being left alone, even by her boyfriend, somewhere deep in her mind she was well aware of that. All these perfectly plays out in a dark manner, letting the audience sit tight and watch as the most impressive film of the year begins unfolding its gift wrapped in a box called “Midsommar”.

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