Writer-director Ari Aster’s Hereditary was my favorite movie last year, so I had high expectations going into his follow-up. The decidedly more ambitious but ultimately less-enthralling Midsommar is chock full of visual delights, but it also doubles down on the ridiculousness and the gore.

Christian (Jack Reynor) is about to dump his girlfriend Dani (Florence Pugh), but after she suffers a family tragedy, he instead invites her along to his boys’ trip to Sweden to visit an idyllic community that one of them (Vilhelm Blomgren) hails from and another (The Good Place’s William Jackson Harper) is studying. Will Poulter rounds out the group as the alpha-douche Mark. What they uncover in the community is a cult-like society that some are drawn to, and others are targeted for.

Midsommar is creepy and gross, and there are numerous thrilling moments and a lot of intricate detailing that keeps it from being another run-of-the-mill horror thriller. But where Hereditary was tightly plotted, there’s a number of frustrating plot devices, confounding character moves, and just overall absurdities that keep the movie from reaching the same levels of greatness. Though Aster clearly a master of his craft, and I will be right there on opening weekend for his next release, Midsommar was just a little middling for me.

My Grade – C+

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