Midsommar is a 2019 folk horror film by director Ari Astor. It is not as scary as you would think. There are some gruesome scenes throughout the film, but for the most part it's more or less a drama. That is because the true horror of Midsommar is a bit understated and it took me some time to realize it. This is a film about how ordinary people end up in cults and the weird ties between cults and Nazis.
The film follows main character Dani who is isolated from everyone, including her negligent boyfriend Christian, when her sister and parents suddenly die in a murder-suicide. Dani’s grief is overwhelming and she has a hard time processing that with little support from Christian. So the couple, along with Christian’s friends, go on a trip to Sweden in a friend’s hometown (a commune) to celebrate the midsummer festival. Turns out, these people (the Harga) are a cult. Dani and Christain’s relationship deteriorates and, one by one, everyone that came was brutally murdered. Dani finds healing, a new family that cares about her and releases her from her dysfunctional relationship with Christian. In a lot of ways, Dani’s smile at the end is a triumph, a rather happy ending to a terrible ordeal.
At least the happy ending bit is what I've read about in so many reviews. This interpretation makes sense in a way because the film does such a good job of putting the viewer in Dani’s mind state (steady inoculation by a cult) that just for a few minutes, you forget the real danger Dani is in. She’s cut off from the outside world, everyone she came with is dead, and yet we smile with her. Despite the murders, the Harga seem pretty nice and live fulfilling lives. So not only is Dani being brainwashed, we the viewers are as well.
By far the most glaring omission in many reviews of this film is this, “The Harga are a white supremacist wet dream. A reclusive, ethnically homogeneous group in which roles are heavily gender segregated and breeding is closely regulated by the elders,” said video essayist Ray and Skittles. Genetic purity is highly esteemed in their culture and the runic language they use is oddly similar to the one that fascinated the Nazis. There’s even a shot where Josh is holding a book called “The Secret Nazi Language of The Uthark.”
If you are like me and you only like a certain kind of horror then Midsommar would be a perfect recommendation.
By Alpha Bah