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Midsommar Is Like the Spookiest Acid Trip of Your Life

Midsommar Is Like the Spookiest Acid Trip of Your Life

‘Midsommar’ Is Like the Spookiest Acid Trip of Your Life

And it’s got full-frontal male nudity.

The scariest thing about Midsommar, writer/director Ari Aster's follow up to the brutality of Hereditary, is that there are no gay people. Or rather that the movie is about a radical faerie sanctuary full of straight people, the only thing scarier than one full of queer people.

Aster's follow up was always going to be judged against Hereditary, and it is emphatically not that film, in an intentional and specific way. Hereditary told an intimate story about a family being torn apart by a satanic cult, complete with lots of beheading. Both films deal with grief, but Hereditary is about what we lose (and unwittingly inherit) by being part of a family. Midsommar is about the loneliness of loss, and what lengths you'd go to if given the chance to not only bear it but share it.

The film follows Dani (Florence Pugh, we stan), who loses her family in an inconceivable tragedy before the credits roll, just as her boyfriend (Jack Reynor, hot) was about to dump her so he could bang hot Swedish girls on his summer vacation. But months later, he's stuck with a girl he doesn't love in the deepest grief of her life and so invites her to join him at a remote Swedish commune their friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren, also hot) is from. Once they arrive in the permasunny picturesque woods, it's clear they feel like outsiders. But Pelle's family, which is more of a cult, welcomes them into their Midsommar ritual, a special event that happens every 90 years. First these rituals are weird in a funny way, then unsettling, then horrific, then sexy, then horrific and sexy. The film really is like the ultimate psychedelic trip: sure, there are bumpy moments, but everything is cool to look at and you learn something about yourself along the way.

Midsommaris far less scary than Hereditary and it's also so much funnier -- in a way, it's a comedy about dumb Americans thinking they can go immerse themselves in another culture as spectators and being proven very wrong. While there are moments of gore, body horror, and suspense, Midsommar is less a horror film and more of a thriller. It's also weirdly sexy and is the rare horror film that features full-frontal male nudity. The film's two and a half hour runtime is...long, but the length gives the film a sustained feeling and allows scenes to breathe rather than being oppressive. Florence Pugh is truly a revelation as Dani, she carries the film as a woman desperately trying to claw her way out of grief, but the supporting actors all do an excellent job, as does the cast of (entirely white) extras.

The power of ritual is at the center of Midsommar, the way rituals -- not specific ones, but the almost subconscious knowledge of the existence of ritual and our automatic deference to them. As strangers in strange lands, we automatically reorient ourselves around existing traditions out of courtesy or a desire to acclimate, but what happens when those rituals are hostile? Watching the film, I couldn't help but think of all the times I've traveled internationally, never more aware of being a dumb American and doing anything possible to not be one, whether that meant eating something I didn't really want to or following along with a local custom that seemed strange -- thankfully it never led to me getting any body parts removed.

But Midsommar reminded me of nothing more than my time at radical faerie sanctuaries, high off my tits and dancing around a maypole, hoping that this group of hot strangers would like me and make me one of them. Midsommar just had more women.

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