I was expecting The Wicker Man. Creepy goings on in broad daylight. Although this starts much darker and doesn’t have that diy aesthetic, it’s hewn from the same tree. A bunch of mostly naive Americans follow their Swedish friend to his commune back home for a summer adventure. Of course they’re in for much more than they bargained for as the Swedish friend is more recruiter than the friend they anticipated. It’s nuanced though and they put the strangeness that surrounds them as mere cultural difference, which is admirable. Although by and large they’re simply enamoured by the idyllic utopia they find themselves in and they are portrayed as being pretty stupid to be honest, despite their undergraduate status. Especially Will Poulter who plays the arrogant student with aplomb. He’s very good at annoying, at least I always find him annoying. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s that he reminds me of Sid, the sadistic kid in Toy Story.
Anyway, back to Midsommar... The ritualistic stuff is front and centre, with everything done for ceremony. It makes for wondrous cinema. Even the more brutal events that happen early on are almost swept aside with acceptance, what goes on in Sweden stays in Sweden. Of course, there’s mortal danger and the luscious green fields are a disarming disguise as the comically named Father Odd and his community welcome the newcomers to their 9 day festival of Hargas. It’s not long before the unease that we feel reaches the souls onscreen, as totemic signs are left, people are lost and rituals are slowly understood. It’s not perfect, but it looks fantastic, builds really well, however it’s quite predictable. I try not to put too many of any spoilers in these things, but one look at the poster for this, tells you things aren’t going to end well. Despite its slow pace, it rattles along rather well as things get quite horrific for the visitors, but this for me fits into the journey being more enjoyable than the destination category, in that I didn’t find the finale that satisfactory. I don’t mind the hard cut finish, it can often work really well, but the end sequence was telegraphed a mile off and I was hoping for much much more. All in all though if you like creepy folk-tinged dramatic thrillers, this has you covered.