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“Midsommar” a Carnal Retreat






Review by John Delia, Sr.

Not for everyone, the horror movie Midsommar has a lot of emotional angst combined with explicit brutal violence and sex. It’s much like the film Suspiria where the filmmakers invent hysteria through ugly CGI that turns humans into monsters, twist bones like pretzels and end their film with graphic nude witchery. And Midsommar’s just as bizarre.

Dani’s been distracted with the illness of her mother and her soon to be husband Christian has been tolerating her constant calls to him about it. It’s hard to take as they have not yet been sexually active with Dani still virgin. Her mother suddenly dies and throws Dani into a depressive mood. Having planned a men only trip to Sweden with his friends Josh, Pelle and Mark for summer break, turns Christian’s issue inside out. Wanting to make it right for Dani who will be turning another year older, Christian invites her along on the trip.

Jack Reynor as Christian, Florence Pugh as Dani, William Jackson Harper as Josh, Vilhelm Blomgren as Pelle Photo by Gabor Kotschy, Courtesy of A24

The trip will include the once every 90 year celebration Halsingland that will take place in a Swedish mountain village where Pelle’s parents live. It’s additionally special for Josh as he has decided to write his college thesis on the commune. There they will live among them and experience their rituals and celebration of the May Pole. When the ceremony turns strangely off course, Dani and Christian find themselves dangerously engrossed in the festival.

Director and writer Ari Aster who brought Hereditary (2018) to the screen keeps this one as creepy and as ominous as that film. Stealing some of his own Hereditary script to gross his audience out even more in Midsommar, it’s a finale you will never forget, ever. The film miraculously gets a rating of R for what should have been deemed NC-17, putting this film in league with Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria.

Jack Reynor as Christian, Florence Pugh as Dani Photo by Gabor Kotschy, Courtesy of A24

Enough of that rant as there were some good things that Midsommar was able to fit into the two and a half hour movie. The acting is very good with performances that really made it fascinating and pernicious. You can feel the evil build as the movie starts taking a turn for the wicked. It’s like a film where you wish you could warn the character on the screen “not to go there”. You know, spooky even a deathly feel that develops when the main stars are unaware of their pending doom.

Midsommar has been rated R by the MPAA for disturbing ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language. My observations saw a lot more so here are some deeper warnings. The film contains explicit sex, graphic full nudity of both sexes, brutal violence and gore. You are welcome to add to the list if you go to see the film. Also, it creates some ominous psychological impressions that may take some time to heal. Not your typical horror flick.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Bringing horror down to another level. (2.5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Florence Pugh, Will Poulter, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Liv Mjones, Anna Astrom, Isabelle Grill, Archie Madekwe, Louise Peterhoff,
Directed by: Ari Aster
Genre: Horror, Drama, Mystery
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing ritualistic violence and grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language.
Running Time: 2 hrs. 20 min.
Opening Date: July 3, 2019
Distributed by: A24
Released in: Standard, Color

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