For as long as I can remember, I have had a sick and twisted need to feel absolutely terrified. From roller coasters to haunted houses to a child acting career, I love all things that are emotionally taxing and release epinephrine into my bloodstream. I’m an adrenaline junkie and always will be.
This brings me to my belief that no scare hits quite like a good horror movie. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that the psychological turmoil of a movie has a longer half-life than that of, say, a roller coaster. I still remember the first time I was deeply affected by a horror movie (and by deeply affected I mean scared sh*tless). I was nine years old when my father showed me “The Shining,” after I begged him to let me watch it.
Since the age of nine I have been in search of a movie to excite my central nervous system the same way “The Shining” did to no avail. I am aware that nothing will ever be as scary as when I was nine but, hey, a boy can try.
In 2019, I preordered “Midsommar” on Amazon Prime and it was one of the best decisions I ever made (maybe an exaggeration or maybe not, I don’t make too many good decisions). All other 2019 horror movies left me feeling disappointed, but “Midsommar,” Ari Aster’s follow up to “Hereditary,” exceeded my expectations. You can imagine my surprise when my Editor-in-Chief, Jake Mauriello said he didn’t like “Midsommar” at all. I was angry and hurt. I have been unsuccessful in changing his mind and this is my final attempt.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 reasons why “Midsommar” was the best horror film of 2019.
10) It has just enough blood and guts
I can’t stand when a horror movie’s sole reason for existing is to showcase special effects. However, I love the occasional busted head if it’s there to further the plot. “Midsommar” has just the right amount of gore to appeal to my inner seven year old boy, but the guts are always relevant and purposeful to the story.
9) It’s trippy
Dani (Florence Pugh) and her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor), are invited by a friend to celebrate the fabled summer solstice event in his Swedish hometown. Per the culture, they do shrooms the whole time, and as the audience sees the events unfold from Dani’s perspective, we are unsure of what is and what is not reality. This builds a special kind of psychological suspense. Trees breathe. Grass grows through hands. It’s sick, man.
8) It’s about a cult
Is there anything more creepy than a cult? I don’t think so. Oh wait — there is. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a Pagan cult that celebrates holidays with human sacrifices and drugs, and not being sure if you’re tripping or not.
7) It makes you question your friends
You think you know a guy. I will do some extensive research on any friend that invites me on a weekend getaway after watching this movie.
6) It’s based off of folklore
I’m a bit of a history buff and Midsommar is chock-full of pre-Christian folklore. It adds a maturity to the movie — a sense that the story has been waiting to be told for hundreds of years.
5) It’s a love story
A self-love story to be exact. We get to witness Dani work through her abandonment and co-dependency issues to learn who she is without her insensitive lump of a boyfriend. Go Dani, it’s your birthday… that he forgot about.
4) The end will throw you for a loop
I’m not going to spoil anything but it’s a surprisingly happy ending for Dani who throws us a questionable smile before the credits.
3) It will make you severely uncomfortable
I’m not just talking about human sacrifice here. I’m talking about mating rituals involving pubes in pies, menstruation in mocktails and love making surrounded by singing family members.
2) It is aesthetically pleasing
The sheer aesthetic beauty of this film is one of the main reasons that it is so creepy. The contrast between literal and figurative light and dark is what makes this movie not only exquisitely eerie but both a literary and cinematic masterpiece.
1) Ari Aster, the film’s creator, is a genius.
Aster has revamped the horror genre in my opinion. In both of his films, the protagonist goes from a devastating yet realistic reality to a devastating yet unrealistic reality that parallels where they came from. Unlike other horror movies where the protagonist escapes or dies, Aster’s characters adapt and thrive in the new culture, which is disturbing and beautiful.