LAST year, director Ari Aster debuted in “Hereditary”, one of the most overrated horror flicks ever. Its script is riddled with holes like a wicker basket. It starts as a psychological character study then skids off the track as it toys with supernatural elements then gets totally derailed with a simplistic, poorly constructed ending concerning a cult which is totally in contrast to the low key enigmatic tone of the previous proceedings.
He now follows it up with “Midsommar” and once again it’s another overrated movie. Just like his first movie, this one is also established with a slow burn that is really so slow the movie’s running time becomes an unjustifiable 2 hours and 20 minutes when most of the time, nothing really interesting is happening on screen. Just like “Hereditary”, it made ‘laylay’ in the middle and loses its momentum as things become even more and more preposterous. There are hardly any jump scares and the characters are so stupid you cannot truly sympathize with these dorks.
It’s about four Americans invited to a mid-summer festival in a remote village in Northern Sweden called Halsingland, where the sun shines all day. The guests are invited to participate in villagers’ festivities that increasingly become very disturbing, starting with suicides. The moment they saw that, they should have left right away. But the characters here are so passive, taking no active roles in their fates, so we personally have no sympathy for them. They deserve what they got, especially Florence Pugh as the neediest girlfriend ever. That she survived the ordeal and even smiles for the camera after what her companions went through is even more shocking for us. Psycho!
Only those who have not seen previous films about cults will enjoy this movie. There are more superior examples, like “The Wicker Man” (set in a Scottish town, it has two versions, one with Edward Woodward in 1973 and one with Nicolas Cage in 2006 which is an inferior version), “Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom” (which touches on the Thugee cult in India), “The Invitation” (stars Logan Marshall Green, about a cult that kills people to free them from pain), “Children of the Corn” (which has several sequels) and the really creepy “Rosemary’s Baby” (about a cult of satanists who pave the way for the birth of the devil’s child).
That it is set in Sweden is also unbelievable. This is where ABBA comes from (“Mamma Mia!”), Ingrid Bergman (one of my favorite actresses for “Casablanca”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, “Anastasia” and “Intermezzo”, also Hitchcock’s “Notorious”, “Spellbound”, and “Rear Window” ), Director Ingmar Bergman (who gave us “Smiles of a Summer Night”, “The Seventh Seal”, “The Virgin Spring” with Max Von Sydow, among others), Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”, “Little Big Lies”) and yes, IKEA and their DIY furniture. This is what we want to remember Sweden for, not this piece of trash called “Midsommar” who only elicited shock from us when we saw all those fat, ugly, shrunken women on screen in full frontal nudity. Yuck!!!!