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[Horror, probable spoilers] Midsommar

Gussick

Registered User
Validated User
Secondly, Midsummer's Eve celebrations are basically the equivalent of...which holiday does Americans use to go out to get plastered and eat unhealthy food then go home? St. Patrick's Day? Yeah. It's basically making a Murderous Evil Cult Conspiracy of Bostoners painting the harbor green once a year.
Sure you *SAY* that. But then everyone starts putting on white tunics and the hapless tourists are having to put on bear suits and punch their way out of there again.
 

Menocchio

Eccentric Thousandaire
Validated User
I agree with the OP. Compared to Hereditary, it's lightweight. Hereditary built up a constant sense of dread, which was doubled for the viewer who was never quite sure what kind of horror movie they were watching. Midsommer is folk horror in the tradition of The Wicker Man, and it never attempts to hide that fact. So I always knew exactly what was happening. Not a bad movie, but disappointing after Hereditary.
 

Phonzy

not arguing that with you
Validated User
Secondly, Midsummer's Eve celebrations are basically the equivalent of...which holiday does Americans use to go out to get plastered and eat unhealthy food then go home? St. Patrick's Day?
Every single one.
Valentine's Day: with your sweetie
St. Paddy's Day: wearing green clothes
Easter: kind of an exception?
Cinco de Mayo: whilst perpetuating stereotypes
Mother's Day: at Mom's favorite restaurant
Memorial Day: outside because it's summer now
Father's Day: at Dad's favorite restaurant
Independence Day: outside, whilst playing around with explosives
Labor Day: outside because it's not gonna be summer anymore
Halloween: in costume
Thanksgiving: watching football. Extra emphasis on unhealthy food.
Christmas: after opening gifts.
New Year's:
 

Solarn

Registered User
Validated User
I honestly can't stand this style of horror film, because no matter how well it's directed and written, there's one element of the basic setup that always takes me out of it. It's the fact that the idyllic veneer is always so ricepaper-thin that the only way the characters wouldn't notice the horrifying truth underneath is if they didn't care.
 

Menocchio

Eccentric Thousandaire
Validated User
I honestly can't stand this style of horror film, because no matter how well it's directed and written, there's one element of the basic setup that always takes me out of it. It's the fact that the idyllic veneer is always so ricepaper-thin that the only way the characters wouldn't notice the horrifying truth underneath is if they didn't care.
Well, there's really no veneer in this one. Something horrifying happens quite openly almost right away. It's just that of our five main players, one is from there, and three are incredibly callous assholes (with two of them being anthropology grad students who are just drooling at putting these charming little pagans under a microscope), with the last being the girlfriend of one of the grad students who is pretty much gaslighted by her boyfriend and the cult into sticking around.

I mean, it's not like trying to GTFO would have helped them, ultimately (as we see by the fate of another couple who are British and thus presumably saw The Wicker Man and know to skeddadle). But it is addressed.
 

Calliope

Super Moderator
Moderator
RPGnet Member
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Well, there's really no veneer in this one. Something horrifying happens quite openly almost right away. It's just that of our five main players, one is from there, and three are incredibly callous assholes (with two of them being anthropology grad students who are just drooling at putting these charming little pagans under a microscope), with the last being the girlfriend of one of the grad students who is pretty much gaslighted by her boyfriend and the cult into sticking around.

I mean, it's not like trying to GTFO would have helped them, ultimately (as we see by the fate of another couple who are British and thus presumably saw The Wicker Man and know to skeddadle). But it is addressed.
Yeah, they're basically doomed from the second they set foot inside the village. Which...okay, that's kind of Aster's thing - setting up these elaborate mousetraps that we, the audience, can see, but which the characters are oblivious to. He also did it in Hereditary, where the characters are just as thoroughly, hopelessly doomed.


But...I dunno. Here, it feels hollow. Part of that, I think, is that we're never really given much reason to care about most of the characters. Hereditary is basically a small stage drama, given the size of its cast. We've got the core family of 4, evil Ann Dowd, and...that's basically it? I mean, we have some incidental folks who show up in a few scenes like the classroom or the party or the support group, but none of them are even remotely important.

Moreover, we strongly identify with the perspective of two of the characters: the mother and the son. Even when they're in conflict with each other, we can empathize with both, so the whole thing is agonizing. When bad things happen, they happen almost inevitably to characters that we have some emotional connection to.

In Midsommar, I legitimately did not care what happened to most of those assholes. Mark was transparently doomed and unlikable. Josh comes maybe the closest to being an actual human being, but even he's revealed to be a grossly unethical ass. Christian is utterly passive and gormless and largely neglectful. The British couple seem cool enough, but they're in a total of like...3 scenes, and you know from the outset they're gonna be the first ones to die to signal to the audience that things are getting real.

The only character we have any connection to is Dani. That's fine, I guess, but it means that a lot of the things that happen don't have any real weight to them. Instead, it feels like the film is sort of sneering at the characters, like it expects us to delight in their deaths, which always feels a little bit gross to me. It's part of what inspired the comparison to The Green Inferno, to be honest.

(Also, I still don't get why the villagers went to such great lengths to reassure and deceive the outsiders once they were already basically doomed.)
 

Arethusa

Sophipygian
RPGnet Member
Validated User
(Also, I still don't get why the villagers went to such great lengths to reassure and deceive the outsiders once they were already basically doomed.)
I’m still not sure if I read this right, but one of the freakier things I ran into about Greek and Roman animal sacrifices claimed that they wanted the animals relaxed and unstressed, to emphasize the rightness and propriety of the sacrifice. The people, the sources I saw said, wanted to think the animals were happy to be sacrificed. There were even ways to get the animals to nod before the slaughter, as if giving consent and approval to what was about to happen. And then the animals were supposed to be killed before they had time to show fear, to keep up the façade of happy, willing sacrifice.

Like, maybe sometimes even ruthless killers want to think they are being nice and humane about it.
 
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