Has Ari Aster proven a point with new “Midsommar” trailer?

Midsommar dir. Ari Aster 2019

The new Midsommar trailer teases something unexpected from Hereditary's Ari Aster.

Since the arrival of a new Midsommar trailer, intrigue has been at an all-time high. Writer-director Ari Aster stunned audiences back in 2018 with his directorial feature debut, Hereditary, encouraging many to immediately take note of his name. The film was a huge hit with both critics and audiences but has since gone on to even greater praise, regarded by some as one of the greatest horror films of the decade. 

Aster's arrival was welcomed by not just genre fans, but general audiences. Why? Perhaps because Hereditary functions even better as a psychological drama than it does as a horror film. The narrative embraces a collage of horror elements and iconography in its last act, but arguably this is where the film stumbles. Although numerous have declared him as such, it's difficult to determine whether Aster is the real deal yet or not. When Midsommar - his anticipated second feature - lands in cinemas on July 3, admirers will likely draw a concrete conclusion. 

The latest trailer gives us a more satisfying glimpse into our protagonist than the previous did. Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) stars as Dani, a young woman who attends a mysterious Summer festival while suffering from damaging relationship issues. The best thing that can be said of the trailer is that we still have no idea what to expect from this, other than a visual feast. It looks stunning, but in such a way that horror films rarely do, and honestly, we really didn't expect Aster's second film to look like this. 

Hereditary was visually and conceptually dreary, with every frame harbouring grim corners from which something might surface. It was a very gloomy production, and yet, Midsommar is drenched in sun under an ever-blue sky.

It's a great trailer because despite being so bright and alluring, a sense of dread is communicated with ease all the same. In Hereditary, so much of our paranoia stemmed from out acknowledgement of so many places for evil to hide, whereas in Midsommar, our horror stems from the understanding that, in this place, hiding - or rather, escape - is an impossibility. 

The marketing wonderfully conveys that horror cinema doesn't have to conform to traditions of lighting. Of course, many filmmakers have expressed this idea, but a reminder if always appreciated. After all, atrocity is always more shocking under the sun. 

In other news, the verdict is in on Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die.

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