Gaming

Spooky Midsommar trailer gives new horror rule: Don’t trust Swedish hippies

Dani (Florence Pugh) tags along with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) to a Swedish festival in a remote village that is not at all what it seems in Midsommar.

The seemingly harmless inhabitants of a remote Swedish village are harboring a terrible secret in Midsommar, a new film from Director Ari Aster, who brought us last year’s chilling horror film Hereditary. The official synopsis describes the film as “a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.” Judging from the trailer, that sounds about right.

Aster is a longtime fan of the horror genre and kicked off his career with a controversial short film called The Strange Thing About the Johnsons, in which a son develops a taboo incestuous relationship with this father. Hereditary, his first feature, also rooted its horror in dysfunctional family drama, with themes of trauma and grief—right before turning into a bone-chilling nightmare. It was lauded by critics as the scariest movie of the year and likened to such horror classics as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

Midsommar seems like it owes more to the 1973 horror/mystery, The Wicker Man, in which a police sergeant investigates a missing girl on the remote Hebridean island of Summerisle, where the inhabitants practice a form of Celtic paganism. It’s a genuinely creepy, if dated and somewhat hokey, film. (The less said about the 2006 remake starring Nicolas Cage, the better.) Midsommar features the same bucolic setting with sinister undertones and incorporates the same notion of a harvest festival featuring a maypole dance. It’s not a stretch to suspect that the same theme of pagan sacrificial rituals will appear.

In Midsommar, Christian (Jack Reynor) wants to go to a summer festival in Sweden with his buddies—at the invitation of native Swede Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) and over the objections of his girlfriend Dani (Florence Pugh). The couple is on the verge of a breakup after four years together, but then tragedy strikes Dani’s family and a guilt-ridden Christian invites her to join them.

“It’s sort of a crazy festival, with special ceremonies and dressing up,” Pelle explains to her. He neglected to mention all the nubile young Swedish girls in white dresses with flowers in their hair, making eyes at Dani’s boyfriend. And what’s with all the spooky drawings covering the walls inside the lodge? Add in a native drink with “special properties” (ie, hallucinogens), and things get super creepy (and bloody), super fast. Turns out Swedish hippies aren’t as harmless as they seem, although Pelle earnestly assures Dani, “We only do this every 90 years.”

Midsommar hits theaters on July 3, 2019,

Listing image by YouTube/A24

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