* * * ½
(Disturbing, weird, foreboding horror film)
Think of the weirdest horror movie you have ever seen and multiply by 10 and you have the strange mind of Ari Aster, who brought us another unusual horror flick in Hereditary.
A big warning: This movie isn't for those who are easily upset or subject to nightmares.
Among the peaceful background of a Swedish summer solstice celebration, horrible events take place. So here I am (Joyce stayed home) giving 3 ½ stars to a movie that I am warning you about seeing. Why? Because film aficionados will be lost in the editing, photography, acting and the contrast between beauty and grotesque.
Midsommar is not your typical horror movie. No teenagers running into the basement. No long bangs. No red herrings. No slashers. And yet it is frightening in so many ways.
A group of young American college students take a trip to Sweden, led by one of them who grew up in a commune. Two of the students are interested in studying the midsummer celebration. Dani (Florence Pugh), the only woman in the group, goes reluctantly because her boyfriend is going.
Dani has some serious psychological problems caused by discovering her parents' double suicide. She is also having relationship problems with her boyfriend (Jack Raynor).
The scenery is beautiful and idyllic, and the cult members are joyfully dressed in white gowns adorned with fresh flowers. And yet, there is always the feeling of impending doom. That doom comes a number of times at unsuspecting places and events. At times, the Americans seem clueless. They have been drugged and brainwashed, but that cannot explain away a number of weird things that occur.
To tell you more would spoil a number of surprises and shocking events. The most shocking happens to a pair of 72-year-olds, an event that is so horrible you will cringe and wonder what more horrible things could happen next.
The group and the cult diminish in size, leading up to an even more shocking finale.
The movie does say much about traditions, obedience, loyalty and rivalry. Midsommar is one of the most horrific horror movies I have ever seen. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Rated a very big R with violence, blood, disfigurement, sex, male and female frontal nudity, drug use, and profanity. It is 2 hours and 20 minutes long.