Why is it that we have no problem of watching people on Instagram having the vacation of a lifetime by themselves, and yet get squeamish whenever we think doing the same solo trip. It because a lot of us share the same fear of being alone, especially in an environment that's alien. We've all had the situation in which we're at a party we don't want to be at and you latch on to a friend so that your not sitting alone in a corner. It's a part of the natural boundary we set up whenever the bubble we've chosen to live under becomes challenged.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of horror stories have tackled the idea of being alone. This could be a slasher killer coming after someone or a group of travelers coming to a castle not knowing a monster lives there. Don't tell me you would be in further agony knowing you were the only one facing this. Today's movie deals with a group of people coming across a cult, which isn't new, but can still be scary if done differently. So let's see if director Ari Aster (Hereditary) can bring something new to the table with Midsommar.
A young woman Dani (played by Florence Pugh), who already has depression and anxiety, is pushed further to the mental brink when her sister commits a murder-suicide on her parents. Her boyfriend Christian (played by Jack Reynor) has been under pressure from his friends to dump her, but he doesn't want to leave her while she's this vulnerable. It's no secret that he is uncomfortable with what's going on, and is unsure about a trip to Europe. To help her get away from her problems, he invites her to come along, much to the chagrin to the rest of the group. The Swedish student inviting them, Pelle (played by Vilhelm Blomgren), has no problem and they all fly over.
The group, Dani, Christian, Mark (played by Will Poulter) and Josh (played by William Jackson Harper) arrive in northern Sweeden to Pelle's commune home which consists of farmers and families who seem nice. Their all getting ready to celebrate a midsommar celebration that only happens every ninety years. From the start, things go bad with a drug trip, along with creepy rituals that the commune say is normal and a part of their traditions. As the ceremonies go further and further, can Dani keep her sanity long enough to make it through?
I was looking forward to Midsommar as I really liked Hereditary. But not only is it bad, it was really bad. This is a prime example of no matter how interesting the visuals and imagery is, everything goes back to story and character. It's overlong. It's pretentious. It's dull. It's a downer in a bad way. It's… ugh, let's go through the problems.
The story is nothing new. Cults are a good source for stories and study on group mentalities. The Wicker Man, Sound of my Voice, Mandy, and The Sacrament are examples on how secret societies can make an idea scary more then the people themselves. Midsommar taught me little about cult other then typical Pagan stuff that's been done already. As I said, much of the attention is put on the rituals and ceremonies, which are shown…so…slowly. This can be done to dip audiences in a pace to throw them off, but the group of people already seem so creepy that any human, especially a college student would have taken off in the other direction. Even the history around their commune is dull enough that I felt like I was in school.
This might have been forgivable if the characters were at least interesting, but their no more developed then your typical slasher story of the 1980s. At first, it seemed like they were going to play different parts within the rituals and each of their personalities were going to be challenged. But the movie not only pulls a "bait and switch", but goes down the path that you could predict before walking in. I'm not sure if the creator thought this would be seen as new, but it's an even bigger insult when it takes forever for anything to happen.
I'm gonna give this one Swedish tapestry out of five. If there's anything I'm scared of, it's the idea of having to sit through Midsommar again. I already saw Hereditary as a polarizing movie, but I can't imagine this appealing anyone other then people who like sick images, sad people put through sad things, and a pace slower then Heaven's Gate. Otherwise, this is going to be a definite skip.