Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019) wr. Ari Aster; Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhem Blomgren
The first words in the Wikipedia entry describe this film as 'folk horror'. Until now, I'd never seen the word 'folk' used in any summary generic description of a film, so that's a first - and maybe the film is unique. At the shock climax moments, the film is simply 'horror', a 'slasher' or whatever. But there are long passages between and particularly before the 'horror' during which the film suggests that it is showing a great deal of folklorica. There are many sequences showing dancing and other decorative group activities. Many scenes have music which is diegetic: a small group of musicians is shown playing fiddle, drums, and maybe a hurdy-gurdy. All of this takes place in bright sunshine, on a green sward, and performed by people all dressed in white. So the unsuspecting viewer (I knew nothing about the film until it began) is lulled into a false sense of security for quite a long time ... until weird things start to happen.
I should say that there is a prologue, possibly even before the titles (I forget) in which the main character's sister kills herself and their parents by carbon monoxide poisoning. No explanation is suggested as to motivation, but it provides a nightmare scene of dead bodies, one with a hose taped to its mouth, that can recur in flashback moments. The real motivation for the (too long) sequence is to announce the genre: this is a horror film! Once the summer idyll scenes started, I forgot about the prologue, as it wasn't very convincing anyway.
I should also mention that between the prologue and the scenes taking place in Sweden (actually Hungary) there are some annoying scenes in which a group of American teenagers talk about 'relationships' and the other tedia which occupy the minds of such people. As there is only female, quite a lot of the talk is misogynistic. Boring.
And I think I'll stop there. I won't describe any of the 'horror' - partly because I'd rather forget it all asap. And I'll spare you too. You can see the film for yourself if you wish - or just read the complete plot summary in Wikipedia. ... If I write the words 'Florence Pugh', that should also be enough to put you off. (Jack Reynor is even worse.)
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 24 February, 2020 | Now: 24 February, 2020