September 19, 2019

The Director Reinventing Horror

“It’s hard to think of Midsommar as a horror movie.

No, not because we use genre-stigmatizing terms that anxiously reclassify great horror films as “thrillers” or “elevated horror” or “post-horror.” And it’s also not because of the film’s unexpected comedic or even rom-com vibes.

What makes it difficult to talk about Midsommar as a horror movie is that, unlike writer/director Ari Aster’s previous hit Hereditary, I did not feel horrified throughout. Instead the primary emotion Midsommar inspires is closer to a pure, compulsory awe, with nearly every scene exuding unbelievable beauty and elation.

It may say more about the critic writing this review than about the film itself, but Midsommar is one of the only horror movies to ever leave me wanting to live in its world forever, rather than relieved to escape it.

Midsommar does present a litany of what should be (or likely for most other people is) deeply disturbing imagery. It utilizes tropes classic to the genre, like an ill-fated trip to a remote location. And admittedly, it’s now a cliché to describe the latest great new horror movie as genre-redefining.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Blackface. I’ve been writing about, and researching – and opposing – racism for more than thirty years. And make no mistake: blackface isn’t funny. It’s racist. Ask Megyn Kelly. A year ago, the former Fox News star was filming a segment about..."

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line..."

"In the archives of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, there is an old postcard from the city aquarium of a large sea turtle with four boys straddling its back. The turtle lies flattened upon a pathway in front of a fence. At the feet..."

"As we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday this summer, I made the following rough calculation: I’d trekked from my home in New Jersey to her Brooklyn apartment roughly 150 times to provide once-a-week day care, plus other times as needed."

"That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our..."

"It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it's-good movie. "Update," even, was.."

"Tuesday was election day in Israel. But no winner has yet been declared. As of this writing, it appears that the parties committed to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister will not win a majority in Knesset. At the same time, the..."

"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."