Put The Lottery to film in Sweden, you get Midsommar.
I actually thought the dance-till-you-drop scene was going to be a lottery situation, but it turns out there's a literal lottery later in the film.
The intricacy of the set design can't be understated. The paintings on the walls of the buildings are unsettling in their detail, surely drawn from real history (I particularly liked the "love story" dolly-shot). The frocks also must have been traditional, but also reminiscent of a cult.
Horror films are usually full of gimmicks. Not Midsommar. The attention to detail and (seemingly) historical sources of this film makes it so much more unsettling.
I wonder if the men were chosen as sacrifices because of their pettiness (Pelle confronts Dani directly that Christian is an asshole). Ripping on a vape during a sacred ceremony was hilarious, and well placed. Christian and Josh fight over who gets to "harvest" their Swedish culture for their own gain. It would make a lot of sense given the final sacrifical ceremory is specifically to purge evil.
- Christian looked almost identical to Chris Pratt, which was distracting. Perhaps to goad more viewers? Anyway, shaving his beard would have gone a long way to make him more distinct and prevented flashes of Starlord being stuffed into a disemboweled bear.
- I'm not sure of the significance of earlier wall art paintings in the film. In the scene where Christian tells Dani he's going to a party, there's a giant painting of a child and bear. Its placement must have been purposeful, it commands a great deal of attention, it just doesn't make a lot of sense given that none of the other story elements about bears had been introduced at that point.
- The timing and gradiosity of the "festival" was a little hard to pin down. The cultists stated that this particular festival occurs once every 90 years, which is strange given that elders only live till 72. Some cultists would never have witnessed or participated in such a festival, let alone be able to experience it frequently enough to call it "tradition". Pelle states empathetically, "My parents' died too, in a fire," presumably in ritual sacrifice. But does that mean the temple-burning ritual sacrifice happens more frequently that 90 years? Or every year? More explicit time frames would have been appreciated.
- The death of Dani's family didn't significantly impact the plot, other than to begreive Dani and guilt her boyfriend into inviting her along. It strongly added to the atmosphere, of course, I wish there had been more done with it plotwise.
- Creating a love potion from pubic hair and period blood was fascinatingly disturbing. If the redhead was having her period though, the odds of her being impregnated by Christian are slim. Maybe crazy cultists don't know that, but I do, so some of the effectiveness of the rite as a plot point was diminished for me.
Excellent film, fully original, harnessing many untapped sources of inspiration and creativity. Midsommar is on par with The Witch.