Midsommar — Films Fatale (2022)

Midsommar — Films Fatale (1)

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Midsommar — Films Fatale (3)

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By the time I was finished with Ari Aster’s latest domestic horror flick, I was conflicted. Do I tear up because of the overwhelming artistry that I had just witnessed for two and a half hours, or do I vomit because of the images I had endured? Life is full of mixed emotions (a lesson we learned from Inside Out!, and hopefully before), but not many directors can pull off the complexities of grief like Aster. Hereditary was the fear of having your family slowly slip away from you against your control. The final twist in that film explored the ideas of the powers that be. Well, that final moment almost felt like homework for Midsommar: a nightmare that flirts with the marriage between sanctity and savagery very often. We have another tale of grief, with the lead character Dani dealing with extreme death right off the bat.

What follows cannot even be described as the trip down the rabbit hole. Part of grief is understanding what our own thresholds are. In Midsommar, the line gets crossed extremely quickly, and the majority of the film becomes a testament of how far you yourself can cope. Imagine Dani, whose entire family gets stripped from her, because she thought her sister was just having another episode. Does death become better when it is turned into a part of the living experience? Does that make demise something to cherish? When removed from the comfort of her own stomping grounds, Dani experiences the rituals of a remote community in Sweden during her darkest hour. Ironically, she is up north enough that the sun rarely ever sets. There is no hiding behind shadows or darkness. Everything you see is in broad daylight. And they say the dark is scary.

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Midsommar — Films Fatale (5)

Dani is on this trip because her boyfriend (Christian) had planned to go on it with his fellow anthropology cohorts. The idea of concocting a thesis in this community is one that makes us understand immediately that there will be a separation between this festival and our norm. I honestly don’t know how to dig deeply into this film without spoiling, so the spoiler tags are going to be tossed up soon. Just understand this: it is not a fun time. It was never going to be a fun time. What Midsommar provides, however, is a jarring depiction of the human experience in some of the most extreme methods of the year. If you have are easily squeamish, I would recommend staying far away or bringing five sick bags. If you want a challenge, go ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Either way, expect to be repulsed, but I also wish to bring up the power this film brings when it comes to living the lowest depths of the emotional sepectrum. Aster is a genius, and he has done it again (and even better).

Midsommar — Films Fatale (6)

Midsommar is all about the nature of life. Roots dig themselves into the ground. Vegetation rises above, but eventually topples. Plants rot, and get sucked back into the ground. New life grows. That’s what this community follows closely. They view life as a cyclical, ritualistic function as a whole (so actual rituals do not take place within their lives. It’s a bit of a difference). Everything has to go according to plan. Life is planned: we conceive when ready, or we take on our parental duties when the time is right. This community views death the same way. We have to die at the end of the fourth cycle. It’s why the suicide ritual takes place. It’s why none of the members flinch, yet every invited outsider winces and keels over. The feast on the second day was the last supper for those two sacrificed elders, so the community had to eat when they ate (they had to command the lead).

You can analyze this level of detail in all of these intrinsic rituals. Hair is a growing, sprawling system that works like roots do (they have entrenched bases, and visible parts outside of the layerings below). Hair is important, especially when it comes to fertility. The consumption of genital follicles is essential to this group. For us? It’s nauseating, and beyond description. This is still one of the many steps that must take place during this nine day ceremony. The sun rarely sets, so days seep into one another. I could swear I counted six days, but we could have easily reached nine without me knowing. Maybe we didn’t see all nine days. Maybe you’re meant to be thrown off. Much of Aster’s film is a means of creating instability, so you are never quite sure of where you truly are.

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Dani wants an escape to overcome her crippling grief. Instead, she faces some gruesome events. The ritualistic suicides (and the final blows for those who survive the great fall). The consumption of pubic hair and menstrual blood. The ingestion of hallucinogenic drugs that give her bad trips. Her loved one cheating during a symbolic conception service. Then there’s all the stuff she didn’t see: the wearing of other peoples’ faces, the butterfly disembowelment of an unwilling participant, the stuffing of organic materials in emptied corpses, and every other damn thing we went through. Good lord, you won’t find many films topping how insane this one is.

That’s what Aster is going for, though: the damnation caused by the death of loved ones. In this society, death is welcomed. In fact, it is planned. All of the drawings everywhere insist that we follow this order. We are born. We love. We conceive. We expand a family. We die when instructed. This is a welcoming family to those that want to be there. Dani and company do not want to be there. This is disgusting from an outsider perspective. As Ingmar (possibly a reference to Bergman and his use of showing religious unorthodoxy in his films) states, this is how things go here. As brought up, Americans putting elderly citizens into old age homes is probably unethical to this community, and yet we do it. Can we really compare that to the shoving of a skinned body through the trunk of a tree? I don’t think so, but it’s an argument this family is willing to make.

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What’s key is the idea of family. Dani no longer has one, and she is aware that her boyfriend is both toxic and distant. Even though she was brought in against her will, Dani ends the film with comfort. She finally has a family, no matter who it is. Whenever the “f” word was brought up before, she would break out into a panic attack. Now, she smiles. She is brainwashed. She is now long gone. She is happy. She avoided sacrifice by winning the competition, so she is being welcomed. Everything else is twisted: the incestuous process of having disfigured or ill offspring, the amalgamation of corpses with vegetation, the forced removal of virginity before one may be naturally ready. Dani came from a toxic family. She somehow feels at peace with this place by the end of the film, and it’s scary.

There are so many elements to pick apart, especially the symbols. The cinematography by Pawel Pogorzelski is so unsettling (especially the crane shots that glide and flip upside down). Mix that with the nerve wracking score by The Haxan Cloak, and you will feel sick before anything even happens. Midsommar is so gut wrenching, because of how unique of an experience it is. Sure, you can compare it to The Wicker Man (the good one), but do you want to stoop that low? This is beyond just being a pagan horror. What we truly have is the uncomfortable face-to-face discussion with the human experience. It’s bloody, repulsive, depressing, frightening, and very real. Midsommar is artistically outstanding. Aster’s screenplay is so meticulously pieced together. You know the film isn’t just trying to shock you for cheap thrills. You know everything serves a purpose, whether it’s to Aster’s intentions or to the film’s community. That makes all of this all the more disturbing. Everything you saw has to be there for Midsommar to work. It does work. You can’t really share the experience with anyone who hasn’t seen the film. You kind of have to fight it on your own, or communicate with those that actually understand. Like grief. Midsommar is incredibly punishing.

Midsommar — Films Fatale (9)

Andreas Babiolakis has a Masters degree in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections management from Ryerson University, as well as a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from York University. His favourite times of year are the Criterion Collection flash sales and the annual Toronto International Film Festival.

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midsommar, ari aster, Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Will Poulter, The Haxan Cloak, Pawel Pogorzelski

FAQs

What does Dani from Midsommar suffer from? ›

The present study features traumatic incidents accumulated in the main character of Ari Aster's film Midsommar, Dani Ardor, who is literally a schizophrenic.

How does Florence Pugh feel about Midsommar? ›

"I love these girls so much," Pugh writes in a reflection on her most terrifying "Midsommar" acting moment. “On this film, in this scene, I found a true sisterhood,” Florence Pugh writes in an emotional tribute to Ari Aster's “Midsommar” posted on social media.

Who was wearing Marks face in Midsommar? ›

When Josh sneaks away to photograph pictures of the 'Rubi Radr' holy book, he thinks that he sees Mark standing in the doorway of the temple: it is in fact Ulf (the man who screamed at Mark for urinating on the ancestral tree) wearing Mark's skin. (This is confirmed by the screenplay).

What is so creepy about Midsommar? ›

Parents need to know that Midsommar is an extremely violent horror movie from the maker of Hereditary. It involves a sinister, ages-old ceremony that includes disturbing rituals. Characters are beaten and smashed, and bodies are cut up and burned (in some cases, alive).

Is Pelle evil in Midsommar? ›

Type of Villain

Pelle is the main antagonist of the 2019 psychological horror film Midsommar. He is from Halsingland, Sweden and a member of The Hårga.

Was Dani meant to be May Queen? ›

Ari Aster's 2019 folk horror film Midsommar features a plethora of foreshadowing that reveals that Dani was destined to become the May Queen. Ari Aster's 2019 folk horror film Midsommar ends with the crowning of Dani as the May Queen, but throughout its entirety it foreshadowed that she it was her destiny all along.

Why do they all cry with Dani? ›

Dani has just seen her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) having sex with another woman from the commune, and it causes all her pent-up rage and grief to come pouring out of her. The other women reflect her emotions back at her by screaming and crying as well.

What did Dani see in the barn in Midsommar? ›

And while yes, by the Midsommar ending Dani's boyfriend Christian is being burned alive in a ritualistic barn, literally inside the carcass of a bear, alongside the mutilated corpses of their friends, Dani has found a sense of community.

Why did Dani throw up in Midsommar? ›

In one scene in particular, after being crowned May Queen, Dani sees her boyfriend take part in a sex ritual and proceeds to have a massive panic attack, in which she vomits and sobs loudly — all while the Hårgan women surround her and mimic her sobs.

Was Simon still breathing in Midsommar? ›

In the scene, you can also see Simon's lungs slightly inflate, indicating that he is very much still alive. This is confirmed by the Midsommar script, which states that Simon is breathing. Time for a rewatch with fresh eyes.

Why did the girl smile at the end of Midsommar? ›

Ari Aster: “It's designed to play as a happy ending.” But is it? After all, what she's smiling at is death—the sight of her own boyfriend (and eight others) being engulfed in flames. The grisly finale feels like a moment of triumph for this character who's spent the whole film enduring emotional torment.

Why did they pick flowers backwards in Midsommar? ›

One of the Swedish Midsummer traditions consists of picking seven flowers and placing them under one's pillow at night. Young women believe if they do this, their future husband will be revealed to them in their dreams. Dani picks flowers backwards and hands them to Christian.

Which is scarier Hereditary or Midsommar? ›

The Scares Victor: Hereditary

I love Midsommar, but if somebody were to ask me the scariest movies I've ever seen, then Hereditary would be high on that list, and Midsommar wouldn't even rank.

Is Midsommar a true story? ›

Ari Aster's Midsommar is partially based on a real-life Swedish festival, but the customs don't involve the same violence and pagan cult activities on show in the horror movie.

Will Midsommar give me nightmares? ›

'Midsommar' Is The Next 'Hereditary' & It Will Give You Nightmares | Hit Network.

Is Dani the villain in Midsommar? ›

Type of Villain

Dani Ardor is the main protagonist of the 2019 folk horror film Midsommar directed by Ari Aster. A college undergraduate, Dani is the girlfriend of Christian Hughes, and their relationship is distant and toxic before her sister commits a murder-suicide.

What does May Queen mean in Midsommar? ›

Some of those same themes reemerged in 2019's follow-up Midsommar, which centered on Dani, a woman who travels to Sweden and participates in the Harga society's odd annual rituals while still grieving the deaths of her sister and parents, ultimately earning the title of May Queen.

What happened to Pelle's parents in Midsommar? ›

Moments later Dani calls back keening, the script's words not mine, and we're off to the races. We shortly find out that Dani's sister and parents are dead, in an apparent double murder/suicide, and from the looks of it everyone thinks that Dani's sister is the culprit.

Is halsingland real? ›

Hälsingland (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈhɛ̌lːsɪŋland] ( listen)), sometimes referred to as Helsingia in English, is a historical province or landskap in central Sweden. It borders Gästrikland, Dalarna, Härjedalen, Medelpad and the Gulf of Bothnia. It is part of the land of Norrland.

How is May Queen chosen? ›

A May queen is selected from a group of 13 upward girls by the young dancers. She returns the next year to crown the new May Queen and stays in the procession. The largest event in this tradition in modern Britain is the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Why did Dani smile at the end of Midsommar Reddit? ›

As a result, when Dani smiles in the last shot, the audience is supposed to feel happy for her that she is now an important member of this group, is free of her boyfriend, and has a new family.

How old is Dani Midsommar? ›

All of these factors combined mean that Dani Ardor is most likely between the ages of 24 to 26. In Midsommar, Dani is in the midst of formulating her graduate thesis, celebrating her birthday during the mid-summer of her life, and travels to the Harga festival in Sweden.

What happens to Connie in Midsommar? ›

Connie's Death Represents Water

As she's wheeled into the building, her body is blue, wet, and covered in seaweed. It is obvious that she was drowned by the Hårga members and left in the water until they needed to use her for the appropriate ritual.

What is the meaning of Midsommar? ›

You probably know that "midsommar" means exactly what it sounds like: midsummer. But let's look at some of the origins. It's a word found in Swedish, Germany, and other European languages that translates to midsummer, but actually refers to what is technically known as the first day of summer or the summer solstice.

Why is there a bear in Midsommar? ›

In an interview following Midsommar's release, Aster remarked that he chose to use the bear the way he did because the animal is an important figure in Norse and Scandinavian folklore, making its appearance appropriate for a ritual performed by the Swedish Harga cult.

What did Dani see in the keyhole? ›

Dani returns to the village just as Christian is carrying out his mandate under extreme duress. She catches sight of the ritual through the temple's keyhole: Middle-aged naked women are writhing and singing around her boyfriend mid-coitus.

What was Pelle drawing Midsommar? ›

One of the comments on the thread, posted by user u/hobbessss, added that Pelle draws pictures of the feasting table that Dani and co. eat at in Hårga. The Oracle foresees events through images, so it's pretty strong evidence that Pelle was prophesying before they all went to Sweden.

Is Midsommar every 90 years? ›

The festival occurs only once every 90 years, and Josh, who is writing his thesis on European midsummer festivities, regards it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Christian had not discussed the trip with Dani, as he intended to break up with her prior to the tragedy with her family.

What is on the banquet table in Midsommar? ›

A24/Midsommar. The meal showcases meat (there's a farm on the premises), seafood (an important part of Nordic cuisine), vegetables (potatoes were a must), house-made butter, and foraged items like berries, leaves, and flowers.

Was there a blood eagle in Midsommar? ›

Simon and Connie decide to leave, however several cultists find Simon and torture him. They then take out his lungs and use them to turn Simon into a blood eagle. They stuff flowers into Simon's eyes as well and leave him in the chicken shack. Christian discovers his body until he is paralyzed by the cultists.

Was Simon alive in the chicken coop? ›

When Christian flees the women after the ritual, he runs to the chicken coop and finds Simon, flayed open, but still alive. His eyes have been gouged out and replaced by flowers.

What happens to mark Midsommar? ›

After that, Mark's body is then stuffed and has a jester outfit on, benefiting Mark's character as "The Fool". His body, along with Josh, Simon, and Connie's bodies and the paralyzed Christian in a disemboweled bear with five other cultists (among them Ulf and Ingemar) are burned to death in a temple fire.

What is the oracle in Midsommar? ›

The oracle, Ruben, who has physical and cognitive limitations, is briefly shown throughout the film, and is explained that he's the product of incest, as he's “unclouded” and thus more open to receiving the word of the gods.

What happens at the end of midsummer? ›

Dani discovers Christian in flagrante and finally lets out her howling grief, surrounded by a half-dozen girls who match her keening with their own. Christian finishes the act, then runs out of the mating house naked and discovers, in a chicken coop, what happened to Simon.

Where was Midsommar filmed? ›

Midsommar was filmed in Budapest, Hungary, and New York, the United States. Dani's apartment was located in Brooklyn. Village scenes were shot outside of the city of Budapest.

What do the runes on Dani's dress mean? ›

On her tunic, there's a Raidho on the left and a merkstaved Dagaz on the right. The Dagaz means fulfillment and achievement, but it literally means dawn - the rise of daylight, or rebirth. The Raidho inverted means discord, delusion or death. The Dagaz normally means purity, but it's been altered.

What do Swedes do for Midsommar? ›

The Midsummer night is filled with magic

In Northern Europe, the date is still celebrated with the lighting of bonfires and festivities. From the late Middle Ages, Swedes began raising and dancing around a Midsummer pole. Decorating it with flowers and greenery is called 'maja', so it is also known as a maypole.

What does yellow symbolize in Midsommar? ›

Yellow here comes to represent a youth that must be sacrificed. You can see this in the yellow sacrificial building where a select group of Hårga's lives end prematurely as well as the yellow flowers picked by Dani and handed to Christian, foreshadowing of what might come later on.

Are there any jump scares in Midsommar? ›

The constant light, along with the relentlessly pretty and folksy design, makes Midsommar a horror movie like no other. Note that although there are no jump scares, there are some really upsetting images.

Do I need to watch Hereditary before Midsommar? ›

According to director Ari Aster, "Midsommar" is a "companion" to his previous movie "Hereditary" — but definitely not a sequel. In a previous interview, Aster revealed that "Midsommar" is a "companion" to 2018 film "Hereditary," something he confirmed while speaking with INSIDER.

Does Midsommar have ghosts? ›

Creepy hidden imagery in horror is nothing new, with notable examples being the flashes of Pazuzu's face in The Exorcist and more recently, the hidden ghosts in Mike Flanagan's “The Haunting of Hill House.” As it turns out, Ari Aster's Midsommar is also home to nightmarish imagery that most horror fans – including ...

How do Swedes feel about Midsommar? ›

Maypoles and dancing

Midsummer is normally an occasion of large gatherings − and to be honest, many Swedes take advantage of it to fulfil their social obligations so that they can enjoy the rest of their holiday in peace. In many cases, whole families gather to celebrate this traditional high-point of the summer.

Is Hårga real? ›

Hårga is indeed real, but the Hårga people, insofar as Aster conceived of them for his movie, are not. There is no direct analog to this quasi-cult with discomforting rituals around death and bearskins.

Is Pelle sacrificed in Midsommar? ›

What Happens At The End Of Midsommar. In the third act of Midsommar, all other guests Pelle has brought over to his ancestral commune for the once-every-90-year midsummer celebration have been quietly killed off for the blood sacrifice except for Dani and Christian.

Is Midsommar a psychological horror? ›

Ari Aster's folk-horror/psychological-thriller, Midsommar, is the kind of film that haunts your dreams (and, lets be honest, waking hours), for days to come. The movie tells the story of a group of friends who travel to Sweden for a fabled mid-summer festival.

Is Midsommar director's cut better? ›

Midsommar wowed audiences when it hit theaters in 2019, but the director's cut is the movie's best version. The director's cut adds 30 minutes of footage to the already lengthy film. The additional scenes give extra meat to the character motivations, which ultimately benefits Midsommar in the long run.

Are parasites scary? ›

Parasite carefully dissects its characters' fraying mental states, allowing us to understand what realistic forces can drive a person down a psychopathic road. That's definitely scary, but it's a subtler and deeper kind of fright.

Why does Dani smile at the end? ›

As a result, when Dani smiles in the last shot, the audience is supposed to feel happy for her that she is now an important member of this group, is free of her boyfriend, and has a new family.

Why did Dani throw up in Midsommar? ›

In one scene in particular, after being crowned May Queen, Dani sees her boyfriend take part in a sex ritual and proceeds to have a massive panic attack, in which she vomits and sobs loudly — all while the Hårgan women surround her and mimic her sobs.

What did Dani see in the keyhole? ›

Dani returns to the village just as Christian is carrying out his mandate under extreme duress. She catches sight of the ritual through the temple's keyhole: Middle-aged naked women are writhing and singing around her boyfriend mid-coitus.

How did Dani Ardors family died? ›

We shortly find out that Dani's sister and parents are dead, in an apparent double murder/suicide, and from the looks of it everyone thinks that Dani's sister is the culprit. But what if there were more sinister forces at play?

Is Midsommar a true story? ›

Ari Aster's Midsommar is partially based on a real-life Swedish festival, but the customs don't involve the same violence and pagan cult activities on show in the horror movie.

How old is Dani Midsommar? ›

All of these factors combined mean that Dani Ardor is most likely between the ages of 24 to 26. In Midsommar, Dani is in the midst of formulating her graduate thesis, celebrating her birthday during the mid-summer of her life, and travels to the Harga festival in Sweden.

What's the meaning of Midsommar? ›

It's a word found in Swedish, Germany, and other European languages that translates to midsummer, but actually refers to what is technically known as the first day of summer or the summer solstice.

Why is there a bear in Midsommar? ›

In an interview following Midsommar's release, Aster remarked that he chose to use the bear the way he did because the animal is an important figure in Norse and Scandinavian folklore, making its appearance appropriate for a ritual performed by the Swedish Harga cult.

Who was in the wheelbarrow Midsommar? ›

Mark's Death Represents Fire

Notably, Mark does this despite the fact that Midsommar's Hårga is a cult. When the final sacrificial scene towards the end is underway, his body is stuffed with hay and placed in a wheelbarrow.

What did Dani see in the barn in Midsommar? ›

And while yes, by the Midsommar ending Dani's boyfriend Christian is being burned alive in a ritualistic barn, literally inside the carcass of a bear, alongside the mutilated corpses of their friends, Dani has found a sense of community.

Was Simon still breathing in Midsommar? ›

In the scene, you can also see Simon's lungs slightly inflate, indicating that he is very much still alive. This is confirmed by the Midsommar script, which states that Simon is breathing. Time for a rewatch with fresh eyes.

Who is the disfigured boy in Midsommar? ›

Later that night a boy, called Bror, is prepared for a ritualistic drowning wearing natural chainmail. He escapes that fate - seemingly his willingness was enough to appease the gods. However, the boy was wearing the same chainmail that Connie is seen in in the last scene.

Why are they screaming at the end of Midsommar? ›

Dani has just seen her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) having sex with another woman from the commune, and it causes all her pent-up rage and grief to come pouring out of her. The other women reflect her emotions back at her by screaming and crying as well.

What did the email say in Midsommar? ›

In the first scene, Dani attempts to contact her sister Terri due to an ominous email Terri has sent her (“i cant anymore – everything's black – mom and dad are coming too. goodbye”).

Who killed parents in Midsommar? ›

It turns that Terri had killed herself and her parents with carbon monoxide. Emergency workers enter their home and discover their bodies. In Sweden, several trees represent Terri's death face as Dani is taken on a carriage as the queen. In Sweden, Dani is crowned May Queen and is cheered by the cult followers.

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