The horror genre is in the midst of a renaissance, dating back to James Wan's contributions with Insidious and The Conjuring. Rather than stale sequels, new terrifying works have been brought to theaters, thanks to minds like Jordan Peele and Ari Aster. The latter director got a ton of attention for last year's Heredity, which balanced horrifying imagery with character-driven family drama. Now all eyes are on what he'll do with his second feature film, Midsommar.
Midsommar has finally hit theaters, allowing moviegoers to witness Ari Aster's sophomore run in theaters. Early reception for the movie teased how truly unsettling Midsommar is, especially the sensory experience Aster utilizes. Actress Florence Pugh leads the cast as Dani, and recently described the new horror movie in colorful terms, saying:
Oh my God. I watched the film at 10 a.m. and it was quite the wake-up. I spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what it is I had just seen. It’s a total, beautiful nightmare. I honestly can’t describe it any other way. I sat with Ari (Aster) afterwards for about 10 minutes with my mouth open and I didn’t really know what to say. It’s a very unique set of images, let’s just say that.
Despite working on the film herself and knowing the various twists and turns Ari Aster has in store for audiences, it looks like Midsommar still packed a serious punch for its lead actress. It made Florence Pugh think and feel, so there's no telling what the experience is like for the average moviegoer.
Florence Pugh's comments to The Toronto Sun seem to vibe with what we've heard so far about Midsommar's affect on audiences. Early reception for the film was super positive, and the experience of watching the movie led early audiences to drop expletives on social media. And now it seems that extends to even the cast, who were privy to the plot twists and unnerving imagery ahead of the general public.
I didn’t feel victimized. I felt like I was being put up on this pedestal and honored through the eyes of the protagonist. It’s a very unique feeling for a film to conjure because after it ended, I found myself looking back at the final act like, ‘Holy shit. That was some of the most atrociously disturbing imagery I’ve ever seen on film, and yet I experienced it with this open-mouthed, wild-eyed gape.’ I think that part of how we get there is never reducing the villains to any kind of snarling monsters with an evil agenda.
Considering Jordan Peele's perspective on horror and success with his first two movies, his approval of Midsommar carries some weight. Of course, Ari Aster's work on Hereditary was also enough to get fans of the genre onboard for his latest contribution to the genre.
Hereditary was certainly a sensory experience, with moments that were both emotional and terrifying. Because within the story of possession was a family drama, which addressed grief in an honest way. Ari Aster brought out great performances with his cast, and Toni Colette's multiple snubs remain a point of contention for last year's Award Season.
Midsommar is in theaters now. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.