Midsommar features an extremely striking use of light and color. It’s the first horror movie I’ve seen where the absence of darkness is part of the terror.
Everything about the look works. The compositions are striking, the editing hypnotic and occasionally heart-rending. The sparing use of violence makes it feel all the more of a gut punch when it occurs.
But there’s no reason for it to be 2.5 hours long, especially with such little story to hang it on. The prologue is pretty unnecessary. The characters mostly unlikable and bland. Neither of the film’s main narrative angles — withered, resentful romance or coping with grief — is given much depth to amplify the otherworldly genre bits. And the film’s attempt to toy with its themes — ranging from toxic gender roles to the implicit violence of religion — always falls flat.
If you like your horror to be moody and droning with flashes of violent terror, give it a go. If you like visually expressive and unique horror, you’ll probably dig. But if you like tight stories and well-structured thrills, give it a pass.
Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.