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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Reviews    Movie, Television and DVD Reviews  ›  Midsommar Moderators: Nixon
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  Author    Midsommar  (currently 311 views)
albinopenguin
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 1:04am Report to Moderator
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***spoilers inbound****

Ari Aster has the potential to direct a modern day horror masterpiece. Unfortunately Midsommar is not this film.

That being said, there's a lot to admire here. The cinematography, lighting and aesthetic are all masterful and unique. Quite frankly, I love the concept of this movie. The combination of drugs and a European cult in broad daylight is unnervingly trippy and delightfully weird. Speaking of weird, the story does a great job exploring the oddities of an unknown culture. In addition, I absolutely adored the intro and the cliff scene (which is well worth the price of admission). I had a big ol' shit eating grin on my face when that old woman's head split into two. That's S-tier gore that I won't soon forget.

Unfortunately it was after that scene where the film started to decline IMO. Midsommar has a huge pacing problem as it hits a slump in the second act. As a whole, the movie is unnecessarily and unjustifiably long. This is partially because there are WAY too many themes and subplots in this film. Take the thesis subplot for example. Christian and Josh spend way too much time debating who is going to write what and it doesn't contribute to the film at all. This subplot should have been condensed. Also, wouldn't the ending be more impactful if Christian and Dani weren't on the rocks? Or maybe Ari should have dropped the dead family story line and just focused on Christian and Dani's relationship. My biggest gripe with the storytelling however is the fact that logic and reasoning are blatantly ignored in order to progress the narrative. Why does everyone drink everything they're handed? Oh, because the character's actions wouldn't make sense if they were sober. Why do characters get killed off at random? Oh, because they have nothing else to do so it's time for them to go. Why doesn't Dani ask what happens to the May Queen? Oh, because she needs to dance on screen for 10 god damn minutes. There's one part of the film where a character inquires about Josh and Mark and the question is immediately shot down and ignored for the duration of the film.

And then there's the sex scene. I'm not sure what the director's intent was, but he totally missed the mark. Everyone in my theater started to laugh because it was laughably bad. So I really can't blame them. I remember people laughing in Hereditary because it was SO tense. They needed to break the tension (and the Code of Conduct) because it was simply too much for them to bear. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Midsommar. Now that I think about it, the film wasn't very scary or tense at all. I was waiting for a bloody, violent climax and instead the film ends with a disappointing whimper.

There's simply so much wasted potential here. Why Ari chose not to combine graphic gore with psychadelics is beyond me.

A theater attendant polled people as they left the theater. He asked whether we loved it or hated it. Now I find this question a bit problematic as most people need time to digest what they've just seen. Regardless, I imagine most moviegoers will dislike this film. It's overwrought, self indulgent, and unrewarding. That being said, I didn't love it or hate it (and I would question anyone who finds themselves on either end of this spectrum). I liked elements of the film, but found the movie as a whole to be very problematic.

C- for me


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Warren
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 9:24pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from albinopenguin
***spoilers inbound****

Ari Aster has the potential to direct a modern day horror masterpiece. Unfortunately Midsommar is not this film.


I didnít read the rest of the review because I donít want spoilers, but say it isnít so! He really has the potential to be great. Hereditary really should have been a masterpiece of horror but some stupid decisions stopped that. I was hoping that would be rectified with Midsommar, obviously not

Will still watch it, and see for myself.


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LC
Posted: July 3rd, 2019, 10:21pm Report to Moderator
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I really disliked Hereditary, nasty little film imho, with a flimsy let-down plot  I just watched the trailer for Midsommar. Creepy and disturbing, but...The thing that impresses on me the most (and not in a good way) is the irritating scores on these films as if we need to be spoonfed what to feel at any given moment and the impending dread and doom. I have a similar reaction to the scores in Yorgos Lanthimos films: The Killing Of The Sacred Deer and The Favourite - same overwhelming relentless Baroque influenced sounds and beats and strangulated instrumentals that drive me batty. The sound design is over the top irritating.

Ironic that one of the best scenes in Hereditary was Tony Collette's, Annie, screaming sans any visual, and that some of the impressive moments occur in silence.

I'm a big fan of Florence Pugh.

I'm not confident I'll be satisfied at the conclusion of this film however. If a filmmaker is going to rely predominantly on shock and gore, I don't think that constitutes great horror.

I might be getting ahead of myself though.


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kev
Posted: July 9th, 2019, 8:23am Report to Moderator
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This has proven to be quite the divisive movie. Half of my friends loathed it and thought it was painfully slow, but I personally loved this movie. In fact, it was probably my favorite theater experience this year so far.

Two and a half hours is always a risky run time for a horror movie, but I could have watched another hour. I thought this was so hypnotically weird, gross, beautiful, and disturbing that I was immersed for every minute.

There's certainly parallels to Hereditary in the way the story is told. However, I wouldn't classify this as a horror movie. I didn't find it particularly scary. I thought this was more like a psychedelic break up movie, which might be my new favorite subgenre?

It wasn't perfect though, that's for sure! I agree with most of your points, particularly the whole thesis subplot. It was unnecessary. Still, I was entertained throughout and was able to easily look over the film's flaws.

Overall, this was a gloriously uncomfortable experience. Ari Aster has a guaranteed ticket out of me for whatever he does next. Any other fans of his, I really recommend checking out this interview:
https://www.vulture.com/2019/07/ari-aster-midsommar-interview.html


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Heretic
Posted: July 11th, 2019, 10:37am Report to Moderator
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Wicker Man: 88 minutes

Midsommar: 147 minutes

You'd be better off watching Wicker Man twice.

So much talent on both sides of the camera in service of so much nothing. Looked gorgeous, well acted, uniquely shot. But what's the point of having well-realized characters if you're just gonna shove them through a cookie-cutter plot that forces them into moronic choices? And what's the point of all that horror style if you're not going to put any horror in the movie?

You keep waiting for the dread to reach a fever pitch and instead you end up at a stupid-looking climactic sequence that just made my entire theatre burst into laughter, same as Penguin's. Aster, I suppose, wants us to be carried along through the plot the same way the protagonist is, feeling the organic ebb and flow of nature as everything falls into its correct place. Instead, I was just deeply irritated that the movie was taking so long to go exactly where I expected it to go, with no surprises along the way.

Okay, the surprise is that it's a breakup drama instead of a horror movie. Great. Except the breakup movie is bland as hell and just skates by on Florence Pugh's incredible talent for invigorating her endless closeups.

Watch Lady Macbeth for better Florence Pugh. Watch The VVitch for a better presentation of all Midsommar's ideas. Watch Blood on Satan's Claw for folk horror that doesn't play like drying paint. I dunno. This movie was too proficient in too many ways to call it terrible, but I'm getting preeeeeetty tired of these directors thinking they're too good for their own genre.


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Dreamscale
Posted: July 11th, 2019, 1:13pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Heretic
Watch Blood on Satan's Claw for folk horror that doesn't play like drying paint.


OH BOY!!!  YES!!!!  Blood on Satan's Claw!!  The gorgeous Linda Hayden at her prime.

I was very young when I first saw this and the story goes that my parents went out for dinner and my sister and I had a babysitter over.  They were watching something I didn't care for downstairs, so I went upstairs to the den and this was just about to start, so I was thrilled, loving all things horror.

Apparently, I had the TV pretty loud and the babysitter came up, hearing all the screaming and the like - she was actually scared.  She found me watching with a smile on my face.

She told me this was way too mature a movie for me to watch, but I told her I was allowed to (which I was), and she left.

The memories...  


To ski or not to ski...that's not even a question.
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James McClung
Posted: July 12th, 2019, 9:41am Report to Moderator
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I've tried to write a more detailed response for this film, but I think it's a film better suited for one-on-one conversation, honestly. I'll try for something short.

I had mostly the same gripes as everyone else. It's too long and often gets derailed by awkward humor/gags and bad horror movie cliches. As far as the final set pieces... I wonder if only Ken Russell can pull this stuff off. That said, I appreciated the concept, the attention to detail, and ambition. Even as a complete failure (I'm not sure that it is), you can't say it didn't shoot for the stars, and that to me is how it's supposed to work.


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Dreamscale
Posted: July 12th, 2019, 12:16pm Report to Moderator
Of The Ancients


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OK, saw this yesterday, as I was worried it may go away from the big screen as early as today, but I was wrong...it's still playing.

So, where to begin...and end?  Let's start at the very beginning...

I struggled with the intro and the scenes that followed before the group left for Sweden.  It was confusing and unclear at first, ran too long, and didn't paint anyone as an attractive or appealing Protag.

Ari Aster played with the theme of "family" throughout the film, and some will say a theme like this is important or even genius, but I don't like how he started the theme at all.

I also didn't appreciate or believe the setup - that a bunch of kids living in "nowheresville, USA", all working towards their Masters, living in tiny, shitty little apartments, could just up and take off on a week and a half (or longer) trip to remote Sweden.  If nothing else, this kind of trip takes alot of planning and money, but somehow, our heroine, Dani, is able to get her trip arranged on what seems like less than a week's time, and is even able to sit next to her boyfriend, Christian, on the plane.  BULLSHIT!!!!

Once in Sweden, I was hunkered in and ready for what I hoped would be a great flick.  A great flick that wasn't going to be.

OK, let me change gear here, as I don't have the time or energy to walk through a 2 1/2 hour movie in this level of detail.  Let's skim.

I appreciate Aster's eye and camera work.  It all looks very good, and I even appreciate the camera tricks.  I also appreciate the balls it takes to make something so packed full of meaning, various themes, and side plots, all the while plodding along, yet assuming your audience is being entertained.

And, even though I wanted more to happen, I was being entertained, and felt the unsettling dread, the creepy, uncomfortable feeling of "knowing" something gruesome was slowly brewing pretty much up until the final 30 minutes or so.

But that finale was such a letdown.  So much more could have been done to make the runtime acceptable.  I left the theater unhappy, and the more I thought back about the movie, the more irritated I got.

The big problem here, for me at least, is that there is very little actual confrontation. No one really tries to escape or run, no one fights.  Big scenes that should be exciting and scary, are not.

One of the big set piece scenes is the cliff scene.  Sure, it's shocking in the way the gore is played out, but the 2 old peeps who die are completely unknown to us.  They don't even speak.  Yeah, they sing and make odd noises, but we know nothing about them and have nothing invested in them, which means the potential power is completely lost.  Also, the actual cliffs looked very fake.  It was obvious the pointy rocks on top were completely fake.  The falls and deaths were brutal, but it was so obvious they were going to take place.

Finally, thinking back about what took place, leaves me thinking what in the world would all the friends and families say when these grad students never return home?  Most movies and scripts seem to forget that there's always more going on outside of what we actually get to see.  There are families involved, friends, school, work, etc.  5 kids died here and 1 was left alive at the end, with a big old smile on her face, meaning, she's found her new family and friends?  I don't buy it.

Obvious call outs to the much better original Wicker Man, but not nearly done as well.  For me, this was a HUGE letdown and missfire.

Grade - C-


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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: July 15th, 2019, 9:18am Report to Moderator
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SPOILERS AHEAD

I was very upset when this film came out as I've written a script that's to all intents and purposes identical.

I was hoping to shoot it on Hvar which feels like a place where Paganism could still survive with its never ending forests and abandoned villages.

The central theme is even identical...a disintegrating relationship...as well as numerous beats in the story: Such as an hallucinogenic drink and the ending where someone is forced to choose between victims.

It's really fucked up my winter.

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Scar Tissue Films  -  July 15th, 2019, 9:33am
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Dustin
Posted: July 16th, 2019, 1:30am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
SPOILERS AHEAD

I was very upset when this film came out as I've written a script that's to all intents and purposes identical.

I was hoping to shoot it on Hvar which feels like a place where Paganism could still survive with its never ending forests and abandoned villages.

The central theme is even identical...a disintegrating relationship...as well as numerous beats in the story: Such as an hallucinogenic drink and the ending where someone is forced to choose between victims.

It's really fucked up my winter.


Nothing wrong with having two similar films out there. Indeed, by the time your film is made and released, this one will be forgotten about.


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James McClung
Posted: July 16th, 2019, 8:29am Report to Moderator
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There's also this.


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