A young woman, already dealing with the death of her parents, joins her boyfriend and his friends on a trip to Sweden, specifically to a remote town with unique midsummer traditions. Things go south from there.
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With its dreamy tremolandos and rich harmonies, much of the score sounds like a folk-art watercolour of Richard Wagner’s operas, Claude Debussy’s Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune (1894) or Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé (1912), all of which sought to conjure the world of pagan mythology.
Midsommar recycles the memorable qualities of Hereditary, but to no meaningful end. Aster simply employs them to generate a sense of gravitas, which he dashes as soon as Midsommar transforms into a full-blown horror movie.
But in capitalizing on Hereditary’s success, Aster has created something far more hollow about its supposedly human concerns—a film of calculated gesture that fits more cynically into the recent spate of what has, rightly or wrongly, been corralled under the term “elevated horror.”