Hereditary was one of the 2018’s biggest surprises with insiders predicting an early Oscar nomination for Toni Collette for her performance. After the 2019 Academy Awards, the movie has largely been ignored by all major award circuits but remains a hugely popular movie for its fans. Writer and director Ari Aster’s next project is from A24, who has released a trailer on Twitter, and by the looks of it, the director has been completely unaffected by his previous film’s cult status. The Midsommar trailer looks incredibly surreal and features a kind of horror that may be subverting the expectations of audiences of the genre.
The trailer opens with a couple visiting their friends in the gorgeous countryside of a rural town in Sweden. Supposedly there for a sort of festival, the couple is treated to some breathtaking scenery, picturesque outdoor locations, and the promise of a once in a lifetime experience. Things seemingly spiral downward as they become entangled in the rituals of what looks like an eerie and mysterious cult. How they’ll escape, what dangers await them, and what exactly is even going on in all these beautiful shots all remain unclear in this trailer that spoils nothing of the movie itself.
At no point of the Midsommar trailer is there any jump scares or darkly lit scenes or explicit visuals betraying anything conventionally scary, all staples of the horror genre. Instead, the trailer is entirely brightly lit, feature outdoor sequences in the sun with muted colors that would make the movie almost feel like a Wes Anderson film. The color palette and visuals starkly contrast the background score and the emotions on the actor’s faces, making Midsommar a truly subversive horror film, at least from the trailer.
When speaking to Variety about his debut feature film Hereditary, Aster provided some insight into his process.
“I’m not a particularly superstitious person but what scares me is what people are capable of. The idea of witches has always scared me because of the idea that there are Machiavellian forces out there that conspire to hurt others. There are people who do not have your best interest at heart and are actively willing to do harm to you and actively sending energy in that direction.”
If Aster put as much research into the concept of cults for Midsommar, the movie is sure to be an unnerving look that further explores the idea of ritualistic traditions and the motivations of a collective.
Midsommar releases August 9.