7 July 2019 | Pjtaylor-96-138044
One bad trip.
'Midsommar (2019)' takes a very long time to get to a very predictable and, frankly, uninteresting point. It's just so slow and, honestly, boring. There's nothing all that engaging about the story, and perhaps its most - or, maybe, only - intriguing thematic aspect is reserved until the very end - the final shot, even. This seems to be as spur-of-the-moment for the film as the decision that leads to it does for the central character. The general theming of the feature isn't all that strong or cohesive and its events don't act as an 'allegory' for the theme, either. This leads to an aimless vibe, a sense of almost making things up as they go along. This creates some issues when everything starts tying together, especially in terms of overall motivation. I mean, some things in here just aren't believable. Plus there's no actual mystery driving the plot, so there's never any tension or suspense. I will say that one sequence is properly horrifying, punctuated by gruesome imagery not for the faint of heart, but it stands as the sole example of something that comes close to getting under your skin and, as such, feels sort of out of place, in a way. It's also brushed off quite quickly, despite being revisited a few times. Still, the film isn't scary. It's not disturbing, either. Most of the 'horror' just comes from the unfamiliarity of the situation - that being a foreign festival presented as a long-held, normalised tradition - from an outside perspective. On top of that, you don't care about the characters - who often make odd, audience-distancing decisions - enough to be affected when things inevitably take a darker turn. That's a bit of an issue. Obviously, the piece is well made, no-one's debating that. It has an effective, if slightly obnoxious, score and makes some distinct visual choices. However, technical competence cannot make up for narrative failure. The opposite of this seems to be the erroneous basis for most of the movie's somehow glowing reviews. Of course, if you really like it, then you like it and that's good for you. I'm just saying that there comes a point where you have to stop awarding, essentially, participation points to well-made but empty fare; most pictures are at least competently constructed and even those that aren't can be enjoyable - or more enjoyable than something like this, at least. The film isn't engaging, entertaining or even close to terrifying, despite its undeniable technical competence. Also, the influences of 'The Wicker Man (1973)' are unmistakable - it actually has quite a bit in common with 'The Wicker Man (2006)', as well. Look, horror doesn't have to scare, as such, but it should do something. This doesn't really do anything and it takes a very long time to do it, too. 4/10