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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kutztown chapter.

Midsommar is a recent 2019 horror film, written and directed by Ari Aster. You might be familiar with Ari Aster’s work from his first big hit film, Hereditary, which was also a very popular horror film at the time of its release in 2018. The film itself revolves around a group of friends who plan a long distance trip to Sweden in order to attend a once in a lifetime festival, only to be introduced to strange practices and a cult-like commune.  

With Aster’s recent film, Hereditary, being a dark, twisted, and visibly depressing film, I was very surprised, and pleased, that Midsommar was brightly lit with amazing, colorful aesthetics presented throughout the film. In the beginning when main character, Dani Ardor, was introduced, her life was visibly dark and sad. The cinematography showed darkness and little to no color in the beginning, until Dani decides to attend a trip to Sweden with her emotionally unstable boyfriend and a few of his friends and her life begins to flip. The trip was organized without Dani’s knowledge, but she received a pity invite once she finally found out about the trip only a few days before leaving. With her recent family trauma and nowhere left to turn, Dani decides the best option would be to blindly follow along on the journey to Sweden. 

Upon arriving in Sweden, Dani and her friends are introduced to their Swedish friend’s commune, Harga, and are invited to their traditional festival that only occurs once every 90 years. Since Danix’s boyfriend is writing his thesis on the strange ways of the Harga’s cult-like faction, they’re meant to stay for a while and take notes of every strange encounter. In addition to their introductions on the first day of travel, they are also given psychedelic mushrooms and left in a field to hallucinate and hangout. If you think this is weird, just wait. 

After the mushroom fiasco in the field, Dani and her friends are invited to a private ceremony in which the elders within the commune attempt to kill themselves by cliff jumping, for sake of being too old and wanting to end their earthly endeavors. Now, as a normal person who sees suicide as inherently wrong, the thought of accepting this practice as a norm is insane to Dani and her group of American friends, who have never seen someone jump to their death and land gorily on rigid rocks, might I add. 

The entirety of the film is solely focussed on the acceptance of the commune’s practices, while Dani and her friends willingly participate, and everything slowly spirals out of control around them. Members of their original friends group seemingly start to go missing while Dani is preoccupied by participating in a maypole dance, where she is crowned May Queen. After her crowning she comes to find her boyfriend is missing and demands to see where he is when she begins to hear strange moaning of sorts coming from one of the communes buildings. What Dani finds when she looks through the door of the ramshackle house is beyond a normal person’s comprehension which sends her into a spiraling anxiety attack. As she is gasping for air and crying out in heartbreaking pain, the women of the commune begin to circle around her and join in her suffering. Creating a strange sense of connection between her and the women of the cult. 

Because Dani is crowned May Queen, she is presented with the truth of the commune in which she must choose who will be the ninth and final victim of sacrifice in order to complete the festival’s ritual. 

I feel as though this movie is one large psychedelic trip in and of itself. The movie starts off with dull tones of depression and darkness, but when introduced to the Swedish commune and the weird hallucinogenic drugs, the film begins to reach brighter tones of insane color and graphics. It truly embodies the journey of tragedy and sadness that Dani experiences alongside the unrealistic occurrences she is forced to undergo while staying on the commune’s lands. Like I said in earlier paragraphs, I enjoyed the undertone of the sense of community within the film. Even though Dani loses her family tragically in the beginning she seems to find a weird sense of family and connection within the community itself. They experience everything together, they die together, dine together, dance and even undergo life’s tragedy by sharing the grief together. And I think that’s what Dani was looking for all along. In a sense, the movie has a happy ending. But I’ll leave that for you to truly decide. 

Professional Writing Major and Social Media Minor at Kutztown University. I love reading, photography, and all things cats.
Jena Fowler

Kutztown '21

Music lover, writer, avid Taylor Swift connoisseur