Last year, writer and director Ari Aster burst onto the scene and added another chapter in the horror renaissance with his feature directorial debut Hereditary. Apparently not one to rest on his laurels, Ari Aster is already back with his follow-up, the mysterious horror film Midsommar. The first trailer for Midsommar has arrived and as you might expect, it is both unsettling and awesome. Check it out:
When it’s done well, I’m a big fan of trailers that focus more on teasing the film’s tone versus laying out the specific plot beats, and that’s what we get from the Midsommar trailer. The logline for the film is that a young woman joins her boyfriend on a summer trip where things go awry, and this trailer doesn’t really tell us much more than that, thus maintaining the mystery. It’s more about conveying a feeling, and the feeling that we get here is deeply unsettling.
The imagery paints a picture of a joyous festival. The desaturated color palette, blown out highlights and the almost-Wes Andersonian symmetry in some of the shots are meant to evoke an idyllic picture of summer. The whole thing has this hazy nostalgic quality to it, giving off a magical flower power vision of what we think of as summer. The letterbox is even white! So how can something so beautiful be so unsettling?
The cadence and the minimalistic score of this trailer build slowly, like clockwork ticking down to some inevitable terror, the evil lurking beneath the heavenly and colorful veneer. All the while there is a weirdness to the people we are seeing and what they are saying, and the skepticism on Florence Pugh’s character’s face echoes our own. We wonder what is off about this place then towards the end of the trailer we find out.
Midsommar might mean midsummer, but this trailer might as well be called The Horror of Hippies. It’s not entirely clear what is going on, but there seems to be some cult-ish, paganism-type stuff at play. Given the ending of Hereditary, Ari Aster seems to have a fascination with such ideas. There is a shot of someone with bloody hands against a rune-covered rock, a horribly disfigured person, some strange ritual and a bear being dissected. Something sinister is definitely happening and Florence Pugh’s Dani will somehow have to escape it.
Another thing that unsettles throughout this trailer is the noise the characters keep making. Hereditary’s marketing showed how terrifying children are with Charlie’s clucking noise, a noise that moviegoers who thought themselves original and funny decided to make in the theater. Here the members of this group/participants in this festival are making this exhale sound with their mouths that kind of reminds me of a noise the kids made in the movement sequence in The OA.
Which makes you think, what’s with Ari Aster and noisemaking and how much trouble did he have staying quiet in school?
Midsommar has a great young cast which is led by We’re the Millers and Detroit’s Will Poulter and Florence Pugh, who just starred in the acclaimed wrestling flick Fighting with my Family. All in all, this is an awesome trailer, and as someone who admired the craft of Hereditary more than I actually liked the movie itself, Midsommar just vaulted into one of my most anticipated movies this year.