After long consideration, the verdict on Midsommar is… meh.
Ari Aster’s quietly bonkers, absurd and absurdist daylight horror is a culture-clash of Swedish detachment versus self-absorbed Americans at the sort of festival that only exists in Monty Python‘s most twisted sketches. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – this is the Swedish Wicker Man.
From the outset I intensely disliked the entire American travelling party, so as soon as they arrived at the alienating rural festival, I couldn’t wait for them to get picked off one by one in the best horror genre tradition. Unfortunately it takes far too long and far too many freaky episodes amidst a Swedish death and fertility cult to score a result.
There are shocking incidents of extreme cruelty and violence and yet these wilfully deluded Americans are almost British in their stiff-upper-lip determination not to embarrass the hosts by running screaming for the airport at the first opportunity. When the bodies start to pile up, rather than hike out of there on foot, they mostly try to embrace the alternative, dude, as if this is just another Burning Man festival. Except it ends with an entirely different kind of bonfire.
Florence Pugh has been rightly singled out as the star turn, and has appeared in better material than this already.
Otherwise it’s a grown-up version of Camp Teen-Death-on-the-Lake, by way of The Seventh Seal with a dollop of Brecthian Alienation to shake up the formula.
Well at least it’s not Eli Roth torture-porn, ‘Final’ Destination Part 37 or ‘I Still Don’t Give a #### What Your Did Last Summer.’ Move on. RC
Director: Ari Aster
Writer: Ari Aster
Running time: 140 minutes
Cast: Florence Pugh, Liv Mjönes, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Madekwe, Tyler Isabelle, Henrik Norlén, Isabelle Grill, Henrik Norlén, , Agnes Westerlund Rase, Julia Ragnarsson, Anki Larsson, Mats Blomgren, Lars Väringer, Anna Åström