So we have the official trailer for Ari Aster’s new film Midsommar, his follow-up to last year’s Hereditary, a film I felt was completely snubbed at the Academy Awards.
Midsommar’s trailer opens with Christian and Dani (played by Jack Reynor and Florence Pugh), a couple who are clearly going through a difficult time in their relationship. Christian is going to a strange festival in Sweden, one he didn’t tell his girlfriend about.
Christian’s friends don’t like Dani, saying she has problems and reminding him he’s been wanting out of the relationship. Christian, likely in a last-ditch effort to save the relationship, invites her to join him and his friends on the journey. While this is nothing new in the horror realm, it is highly relatable. So many of tend to think we can save the relationship with a crazy trip or gesture, but of course it doesn’t always work like that.
Early on in the trailer, it is clear to see that the direction and cinematography are going to be highlights of the film as we see some very interesting sequences like Dani running to the bathroom and leading her and us right on to the plane.
Ari Aster’s biggest strength as a storyteller seems to be his ability to take broken people and put them in situations without a clear-cut escape. He did it well with Hereditary, and I’m seeing a lot of shades of that in Dani and Christian’s relationship in Midsommar too. The only fault I’m potentially seeing, though, is Aster’s return to old-time ritual horror, and yes, Midsommar is a different film for a follow-up but there are similarities in the type of horror, and I was hoping for something drastically different.
That’s not to fault the trailer, which ensured me that I will be there for this on opening weekend. In fact, as the trailer unfolds, we get a sense that everything is not quite right here. At night, the sky is still sunny and blue, so there are elements of time out of whack here, an interesting idea. It seems on the surface that Aster’s previous film gave a sense of human causation behind its horror, whereas Midsommar steps right into the surreal and dreamlike, or nightmarish, perversion of what is normal.
As the story of the trailer unravels, it becomes clear that Aster is aiming bigger and bolder with this new film, and as long as it separates itself from his previous work. I absolutely adore Florence Pugh after Fighting with My Family, so it excites me that she is getting another headlining role here.
The trailer ends with a single line of dialogue that concerns me about the similarities with Hereditary. A character says, “I was most excited for you to come.” This line could lead us down a path of organized planned ritual surrounding a specific target, something that kind of happens in Hereditary.
Again, I’m really hoping that Midsommar forges a different path from its predecessor, just so that Ari Aster isn’t judged as a one-trick pony. I’d really like to see him swing for the fences on every film and keep challenging the assumed path like he did with Hereditary, but I’ll need to see more before I know for certain.
What did you think of the trailer for Midsommar? Are you planning on seeing Ari Aster’s new film? Let me know/drop a comment below!
-Kyle A. Goethe