The Horror of Midsommar


Ari Aster

Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) looks disoriented and in pain as her former boyfriend is chosen, stuffed into a carcass of a bear and burned in a temple.

Nevaeh Gonzalez, Staff Writer

“You just got scared. You have me. Everything’s connected. We’re all one.

The 2019 film, Midsommar, by director Ari Aster isn’t a typical horror flick. The story starts with a skin crawling scene inside of the main character, Dani’s (Florence Pugh) parent’s home, with a phone ringing in the background. As the voicemail plays, the camera trails around the home, only to show her parents in bed unconscious and her sister Terri sitting up against a desk with a tube taped against her mouth. Come to find out, Dani’s family had been murdered in an apparent double murder/suicide, from carbon monoxide poisoning from their car’s exhaust. 

It is a horror movie, but it’s not very scary in the typical sense, as it would make you sick rather than scream from fear. As the film continues, Dani decides to join her boyfriend, Christian, (Jack Reynor) and his friends in a visit to family members of Christian’s friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) for their college thesis in Sweden. Keep in mind, Dani is fragile and still mourning; and her relationship with Christian is unraveling. She doesn’t truly want to go; she just wants to escape her grief.

As the group arrives in Sweden, it already feels unsettling by the way everybody greets each other, but they are also from a different country, so they greet each other differently than a simple wave and hug. Dani feels very uneasy, and the immense amount of pressure causes her to have multiple spontaneous panic attacks throughout the movie. As everyone gathers at the bottom of a large cliff, looking up at the peer above them, an elderly woman jumps off and dies against a large rock. Another couple that also visited for the research begins to scream and freakout watching the suicide. The second elder leaps off, surviving the fall. To ensure he has completely passed, three cultists take turns with a mallet to finish the job. They claimed that the two were happy to take their own lives. The scene leaves the watcher wondering: who in their right mind would find joy in jumping off a cliff?

Later on, the group begins to argue over pointless things; as they grow apart, the tribe begins to kill them off one by one and claim they have no clue of what is happening to them, starting with Mark (Will Poulter) who was killed and skinned. Josh (William Jackson Harper) who was tricked while someone was in the skin of his recent friend Mark and shortly after suffered blunt force trauma to the head by the same mallet used on the elder. Connie, (Ellora Torchia) then disappears and no one has any apparent sign of her, but she was drowned off camera. Soon after, her boyfriend Simon (Archie Madekwe) had his lungs ripped from his chest cavity and was hung in their chicken coop in which they called him a “blood eagle’’ with wings of lung and a chest full of flowers  

More of the movie consists of stomach-churning events, with the cultists drugging Dani and Christian. Dani is roofied with a drink, which they referred to as tea. They make her dance with all of the women and whoever is the last standing is their “May Queen” and has the role to bless their soil and make it fertile. They drug Christian as well, and while under the influence they force him to sleep with one of the cultists named Maja (pronounced Mya) and tell him it’s because she chose him to impregnate her. These actions only add to the growing distrust of the cultists, since they seem to justify rape and murder. However, the cult still tries to appeal to Dani’s fragile state. She watches Christian and Maja in agony, and in an attempt to create a disjointed version of catharsis, the cultists cry with her.

The cultists paralyze Christian, stuff him in bear carcass and toss him into a temple, with two living cult members and the four bodies of their belated friends. The four were killed, tainted, and given distinct roles to represent the four seasons and elements of nature. The cultists then light the entire barn on fire and let each of them burn to death against their will. Christian is paralyzed and doesn’t even have the ability to speak, let alone scream. They force Dani to watch by bounding her to a chair in rope and decorating it with flowers, a stark contrast with the atrocities they continue to commit. The film ends on the disturbing image of Dani smiling at her ex-boyfriend’s death.