Opening 26 Sep 2019
A group of graduate students journey to Sweden for its important Midsummer festivities. They begin at Pelle’s (Vilhelm Blomgren) commune at his invitation, since their celebration occurs only every ninety years. Christian (Jack Reynor), Mark (Will Poulter), and Josh (William Jackson Harper) are excited; unbeknownst, Christian invites Dani (Florence Pugh). The others are dismayed, but say nothing. Now under way, with everyone being a good sport, it is clear from the outset by the goings-on the cult’s Hågar celebration will be something atypical and strange.
Writer-director Ari Aster lumps together old stories in new costumes in setups so transparent suspense is desecrated. The cast makes the best with what they are given, albeit no one stands out. Noteworthy is Pawel Pogorzelski’s unusual and encompassing cinematography, Lucian Johnston’s editing – especially the smooth transitions, Henrik Svensson attractive production design, and The Haxan Cloak’s mood-synchronized music.
In his follow-up to Hereditary – Das Vermächtnis, 2018, Aster delivers a disappointing, regressive film with a shallow storyline that is disproportionate to its length. As well, there is something perverse about some long takes on gruesome results occurring during the pageantry, besides diluting any shock value. So save your money and wait for Midsommar’s DVD release. (Marinell Haegelin)