Blu-Ray Review – Midsommar

Midsommar is the big horror movie of the year, so everyone has an opinion on it, pro or con. Along with Us, it’s definitely up there for horror movie of the year. It’s Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary, and a far better film than that.

Although Aster makes horror movies, he believes he’s above the genre. It’s really pretentious when he claims it’s a family drama, or a break-up movie—just call it what it is! However, he is a very talented filmmaker.

Midsommar is this incredibly good movie about a breakup that happens in the most extreme way possible. It stars Florence Pugh as Dani Ardor and Jack Reynor as Christian Hughes. There’s been a tragic incident in Dani’s family, and her boyfriend Christian is a bit of a douche. He keeps it from his girlfriend that he’s going to Sweden with his friends for this mid-summer festival. One of his friends is part of a ancestral commune, the Hårga that puts the event on. They get there, and the first thing that happens is they are offered magic mushrooms. She’s not that keen, but they decide to partake, because it’s part of what they’re doing together. That goes OK-ish, but soon they witness one of the Hårga’s rituals, and they are incredibly shocking.

The Blu-Ray includes the director’s cut and the theatrical cut. Both are great; I would probably now edge towards the director’s cut, because I think the 20 minutes that were cut actually add something. The scene where they are driving to the place in Sweden is much shorter in the theatrical cut. Both versions retain a great trippy camera move, but it works differently in the longer, more realistic sequence, which builds up a sense of normality until the camera trick creates a sense of foreboding. There’s also a big night sequence in the director’s cut, and since most of the film is in the daylight this is very striking visually. Coming after the first big ritual, it builds up a lot of tension and is very effective (and should have been kept). However, the director’s cut is almost three hours long…

The lead performances are really good, especially Pugh. Reynor is one of the best young actors around, he also plays Jack Parsons in Strange Angel. It’s beautifully filmed in these extreme daylight which one of the biggest strengths of the film. The set was built in a very scenic area, and it’s a very thought-provoking horror movie about relationships, abuse, cults and psychedelics, with a fantastic climax that ends on a smile. I’m eagerly waiting for what Aster does next, and hope that he can accept that he actually makes horror films.

The disc includes each cut on a separate disc and a making-of featurette that totals 25 minutes in length.

★★★★★

Ian Schultz

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