Florence Pugh is fighting with her family (again) before a tragedy sends her off to Sweden with her friends (Will Poulter, The Good Place‘s William Jackson Harper and Chris Prattalike Jack Reynor) just in time for the ritual crowning of the May Queen, like The Wicker Man except thicker, man.
Directed by Hereditary‘s Ari Aster, Midsommar Morders inherits all of its problems: overlong (it takes them half an hour to even decide to go to Sweden), ill-disciplined and derivative. Even Pugh, so convincing in Lady Macbeth and Fighting With My Family, gets nothing to do since no one seems to fight back in these films, meaning no attempt is made to subvert a folk horror routine as predictable as the setting sun (bad analogy in this case). What’s the point in telegraphing exactly where your movie is going and then taking 2.5 hours to get there? Do it quicker, man.
Aster’s mushroom-trip visuals are alluring but as a storyteller he’s little more than a box-ticker (man), overstuffing the film with pagan rituals, underdeveloped characters and the occasional funny moment that may or may not be intentional. There are a couple of standout scenes but they come to nothing but the realisation that Aster is in desperate need of an editor to make Midsommar tighter and tidier; it needs a spring clean for the May Queen. For a really original and interesting Scandi horror check out Border. This is just boring.
Apparently forgetting about the existence of movies like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Wicker Man, critics have praised the fact that it takes place in daylight, although that might just be because it’s bright enough to take notes. There’s something about the horror genre that means nonsense and indulgence get a pass from critics. Unoriginality is “homage” and incoherence is fine because oooh weird. I’m guilty of this; horror works on different people in different ways, but here’s the kicker, man: it’s not scary. There are a couple of moments of extreme gore but the most frightening moment was when I checked my watch and realised there were 90 minutes left.