Ari Aster’s Hereditary (2018) was a promising debut feature, with suggestive atmosphere, compelling performances, and (for a horror film) sensitive observations about the nature of grief. But on the basis of Aster’s second feature, Midsommar, I’m inclined to say that promise is all the writer-director has to offer. Midsommar recycles the memorable qualities of Hereditary, but to no meaningful end. Aster simply employs them to generate a sense of gravitas, which he dashes as soon as Midsommar transforms into a full-blown horror movie. The film operates as an extended bait-and-switch game, as Aster establishes the veneer of an art movie only to draw viewers into what is essentially exploitation fare. CONTINUE READING