Make a great movie, and great things are expected. Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary is a pagan cult movie that will be released this year, and the trailer just dropped. It is Aster’s prove it moment!
2019 will be a validation year for a number of the hot new horror directors, as several of them will be making their sophomore efforts. Jordan Peele’s US will be released later this month. Babak Anvari’s follow up to Under the Shadow, Wounds, is scheduled for a summer release. Severin Fiala (Goodnight Mommy) just had The Lodge shown at Sundance, and The Babadook’s Jennifer Kent has The Nightengale (which appears to be more thriller than horror) due for wide release this year as well.
The new golden age of horror is built upon the talents of these newcomers, and if they can all get their second movies to land like their initial offerings, it bodes very well for the continuation of this fabulous era we find ourselve in today.
Perhaps no new director made a bigger splash last year than Ari Aster, whose Hereditary was lauded throughout the film community (myself included) and took the horror world by storm. The trailer for Hereditary was one for the ages, and the film came out of The Sundance Film Festival like a house afire. The trailer itself was an exercise in tension and shock and yet didn’t give much away in the way of plot.
Midsommar carries some of that dread, but the teaser is decidedly more underplayed and sparing with its horror moments. The trailer echoes the pagan rites classic The Wicker Man, as well as more recent cult fare like The Endless and The Sacrament. And, in the way of a small plug for our podcast, you can check out our recent Episode 54 in which we talk about some of our favorite movies about cults.
Florence Pugh and Will Poulter star as a young couple who head to Sweden in the wake of a tragedy, to take part in a nine-day festival, in what appears to be a Scandinavian folk hippie jam. Totally harmless, right? Well, judging from the imagery, there is something sinister blooming in this pagan party.
Cutting through the decidedly idyllic initial imagery are some a-tonal bells chiming, and some ominous breathing, along with a couple of startling visions. So, it’s a little creepy. It does not SCARE me yet, though. Does it have the potential to go down in scary movie lore as Hereditary did?
This might be a bit of a changeup. Remember, for all its plaudits, The Wicker Man was light on the raw terror, but Lord Summerisle still lives on in the hearts of horror fans. Also, A24 has clearly shown faith in this property, and this movie has A24’s art-house horror sensibilities written all over it.
Aster has assembled a talented cast of young, but experienced actors from the indie scene. I’m particularly fond of Jack Raynor, who was wonderful in the Irish garage band musical Sing Street. The artistic vision already impresses. And, once again, Aster penned the script for this movie. If this succeeds, he can take full credit for all of his early successes. Let’s cross our fingers, and hope that lightning strikes twice.