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[Horror, probable spoilers] Midsommar

Menocchio

Eccentric Thousandaire
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Like, maybe sometimes even ruthless killers want to think they are being nice and humane about it.
It's a similar scam to the one from The Wicker Man, where the islanders trick Howie into willingly taking up the mantle of the fool and thus fulfilling the sacrificial role. Notice that Josh and Mark both transgressed against the cult (Mark unknowingly, and Josh was totally entrapped), and Christian was chosen for sacrifice by Dani. We don't know what happened to the Brits, but assuming they were similarly enticed into breaking some taboo or accidentally volunteering to make a blood eagle, this lets the cultists act as if their hands are clean.
 

Iozz-Sothoth

Cruel Angel's Viva Voce
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Actually, there's a thought.

You've got The Witch for Calvinist horror. The Exorcist for Catholic horror.


What does an Anglican horror film look like?
An adaptation of Phil Rickman's Merrilly Watkins novels or of one of MR James' cathedral set horror stories (though not 'Canon Alberic's Scrapbook').
 

Killer300

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Doesn't the Wicker Man also hinge on the fact that the 'ancient Pagan traditions' actually only date back a couple of generations? It's a fairly smart commentary on the new age types who believed they were the heirs to millennia old rituals that were largely made up in the late nineteenth century.
Which sounds like a level of subtlety, nuance, and thought put into religious beliefs of a cult that Midsommar rather lacks.
 

Killer300

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On the topic of religious horror, I thought Witch worked because it showed how a set of beliefs, even if they are true, can actually make your situation worse, because of how it can trap you, or make your responses worse. So, its Calvinist horror in a way that the Exorcist isn't Catholic horror, because Catholicism doesn't make the Exorcist situation worse.

The last of which I actually think would be an interesting twist on the possession film, if the demon is both simultaneously true, but, responding to it with Catholicism actually makes the situation worse, because the belief structure limits the available responses. However, it also would be a very different movie from the Exorcist.
 

DocShoveller

Godwin's Lawman
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I never saw or knew anything about Hereditary beyond "Very well regarded horror movie" and "starring Toni Collette". But the trailers I caught for Midsommar had me hooked on the intriguing out-of-the-box premise, and I'm always looking for something interesting in the horror genre even if it's not that great of a film.

So I was utterly BLOWN AWAY. I could not believe the sheer artistry in the film-making the entire time. There's little plot and that's enough; the characterization is thin, but it's not the point outside of our main character...

And HOLY SHIT the actress and her director do SO MUCH with Dani. Her grief and isolation (even before tragedy strikes) is obviously the hammered-upon point so not much else about her is fleshed out, but never-the-less that's an incredibly realistically rendered person that I just watched be broken and transformed by horrific ordeals.
Midsommar looks and sounds fantastic. I think there's some great work with cutting to and from various sounds, and the overall soundscape of the film is excellent. The plot is just a ticklist of folk horror tropes. If you like Florence Pugh (Dani) then go see Fighting With My Family, because it's just brilliant.
 

JoeNotCharles

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I really wish I'd read the OP before I saw this, instead of avoiding the thread due to the spoilers, cause I agree with every word and it might have saved me over 2 hours of my life. (Aside: they really could have cut some of the idyllic dancing and singing. We get it already, and the movie's way too long.)

Making up a fictional religion can be a tricky balancing act. If you base everything around a single theme or set of imagery, it feels artificial: real religions don't work that way. But if you just throw a bunch of random shit together, everything just feels random. This movie went way too far on the random side.

The first intro to the cult had a pretty good balance - ritual drugs, the tapestries with the folk tales, the holy book - but the more they got into the horrific details the more it just got ridiculous. Suicide at 72 - well foreshadowed by the "seasons of life" speech, various trappings add to the ritual feel, good. The outsider chosen for sex and being drugged into it - also well integrated. The holy book being shaped through incest - why? What does this add except a gross-out? They sacrifice some people every 90 years, sure - why do they have all these gross extra traditions around slaughtering people, with the foot planting and the blood eagle in the chicken coop (why the chicken coop?) and wearing people's skin like masks?
 

Calliope

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I really wish I'd read the OP before I saw this, instead of avoiding the thread due to the spoilers, cause I agree with every word and it might have saved me over 2 hours of my life. (Aside: they really could have cut some of the idyllic dancing and singing. We get it already, and the movie's way too long.)
Apparently the original cut was something like 3 hours and 40 minutes. I'm sure there was some interesting stuff in there, but...man, I can't even imagine.
 
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