Blu-ray Review: Midsommar

STUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Ari Aster | CAST: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter
RELEASE DATE: Oct. 8, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $14.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.99
BONUSES: featurette, “Bear in a Cage” promo
SPECS: R | 147 min. | Mystery horror | 2.00:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio  | Video | Overall

For his sophomore effort following 2018’s highly ambitious and acclaimed horror outing Hereditary, writer-director Ari Aster takes the idea of a melodrama concerning a college-age relationship to eerie and disturbing heights with Midsommar.

The focus is on Dani (Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth), a student who, after suffering from an unspeakable family tragedy, seeks comfort with her insensitive boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor, Free Fire). In order to get away from her troubles, Dani joins Christian and his grad school pals on a trip to a Swedish commune for a few weeks where Christian’s friend Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren, Gosta) was raised.

The group arrives at the commune just in time for a Midsummer celebration that occurs every nine years, where commune members participate in creating different types of folk art as well as rituals that get more and more bizarre and violent as the week wears on. Eventually, mind-altering drugs are ingested, the lives of the Americans are threatened, and Dani and Christian are manipulated into playing parts in the macabre form of merriment.

Clocking in at 146 minutes, Midsommar is an epic that impresses and perplexes at the same time. Visually, the film is masterfully handled by Aster, who shows he’s equally adept at conjuring striking images of the lovely but menacing Swedish countryside (it was actually filmed in Budapest) and capturing the slowly mounting dread and intimate agony faced by Dani and Christian. And Aster is not afraid to offer scenes of shocking gore and sexual activity set against the impressively beauteous sheen he gives his film.

While its lengthy running time for a genre film may have been a deterrent to wide crossover success, Midsommar received generally positive reviews and rang up $26 million at the box-office. The curious horror crowd and arthouse patrons who shied away in theaters will help bring brisk business to its ancillary afterlife. There’s also an extended 171 minute director’s cut that received a limited theatrical release and is now available as an iTunes exclusvie.

Buy or Rent Midsommar

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.