If you saw the 2018 cinematic phenomenon that was
Hereditary, you've likely been waiting for writer/director Ari Aster's next move. Fortunately, dans didn't have to wait long. While Midsommar shares very few elements with the bleak family drama of Hereditary, it's just as haunting. The new film takes many surprising turns, all under the piercing sunlight of a Scandinavian summer, so it might be unlike any horror movie you've seen before. Whether you're too chicken to check it out yourself or you already did and want to relive the experience, we broke down the 14 scariest moments in Midsommar for you. Massive spoilers ahead!
When the film begins, the relationship between Dani (Florence Pugh) and her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) is already on shaky ground, but they stay together after tragedy strikes her family. Knowing he can't leave his grieving girlfriend alone, Christian invites Dani on a trip he's taking with his friends Josh (William Jackson Harper), Mark (Will Poulter), and Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren), to visit Pelle's rural Swedish hometown.
They know they're going to experience a festival that's important to Pelle's community, but he doesn't prepare them for all the terror to come. From graphic killings to creepy interactions, here are the
Midsommar scenes that'll stay with you at least until fall.
The Fate Of Dani's Family
Dani is worried about an email sent by her mentally ill sister, but Christian tells her that it's probably nothing. In a chilling pan across their home, it's revealed that Dani's sister has killed not only herself but also her parents by poisoning them with carbon monoxide. What's eeriest about it is that when Dani's parents "slept" through her call earlier, they were probably already dead.
When Dani's Mushroom Trip Goes Bad
It doesn't seem like a good idea for Dani to take a hallucinogenic drug when she's not ready — even Dani knows that, but she wants to prove that she won't ruin a fun trip. A pit stop before the village leads to a bad hallucinogenic trip, and while nothing actually harms her, the event sets a foreboding tone.
The art in the village pertains to directly to the story. In the press notes for
Midsommar, writer/director Ari Aster says, "Hidden inside these paintings is everything that’s going to happen in the movie without giving viewers any obvious signs."
The camera lingers on panels depicting a Hårga love ritual — when a woman cuts her pubic hair and puts it in a man's food and adds menstrual blood to his drink. It's one of the first moments in the film when you start to think that the Hårga people might not be as harmless as they seem.
The most shocking moment in the movie is when the two elders of Hårga sacrifice themselves, as is their custom, by jumping off of a cliff. The woman jumps first and falls flat on her stomach. It's not an image that's not easily shaken.
When The Ritual Has To Be Completed
After the man jumps from the cliff but doesn't immediately die, the Hårga must finish him off. They do so in the most brutal way — by bash his skull in with a giant mallet.
When Simon Disappears & Leaves Connie Behind
Simon (Archie Madekwe) and Connie (Ellora Torchia) arrive in Hårga with Ingemar (Hampus Hallberg), and they react more dramatically to the ritualistic sacrifices than the rest of the visitors. They're planning to leave when Simon disappears. The story the Hårga people tell Connie is a blatant lie, and a turning point for the film.
When You Learn Who The Oracle Is
When Josh gets a lesson from an elder he learns that the oracle is created by the community by intentional inbreeding. At certain points throughout the film, Ruben appears, a person with severe deformities who seems to be abused by the villagers.
When Josh Sneaks Into The Temple
Josh is serious about studying Hårga rituals for his PhD thesis, so he sneaks into the temple to take photos of their holy scripture. He was told in no uncertain terms before that he wasn't allowed to do this, so it's a given that he won't safely make it out.
Josh gets attacked in the temple, but first he sees someone who he thinks is Mark, who disappeared earlier in the day. However, it's just a person wearing Mark's
skin. Before Josh can comprehend it, he's knocked out by an unseen assailant.
After being pursued by a young woman for most of the movie, Christian is drugged and brought into a structure to mate with her. The copulation takes place in a room filled with naked women, who moan along with Christian and Maja (Isabelle Grill) as they have sex.
After being crowned the May Queen, Dani sees the sex ritual taking place. She starts hyperventilating and having what seems to be a panic attack. Rather than console her, the Hårga women join in and mirror her actions and noises as she goes from crying to screaming hysterically.
The Reveal Of Simon's Body
When Christian flees the women after the ritual, he runs to the chicken coop and finds Simon, flayed open, but still alive. His eyes have been gouged out and replaced by flowers.
When The Sacrifices Are Prepared
The culmination of the festival is the sacrifice of nine people: four Hårga, four outsiders, and one person chosen by the May Queen. The Hårga contribute their two already dead elders, whose bodies have been run through with branches, plus two young volunteers, including Ingemar. It's revealed that Ingemar and Pelle purposely brought their friends to be the outsiders. We see Connie's bloated body (she was likely drowned after she disappeared); Mark, just skin stuffed with straw; Josh, with his notebook shoved into his mouth; and Simon, now fully dead.
When The Bear Is Disemboweled
The visitors come upon a caged — living — bear earlier in the film, and only Mark asks what it's there for. The reveal is pretty terrible. When Dani is given the option to either sacrifice an incapacitated Christian or a randomly chosen villager, she picks her boyfriend. The bear's carcass is hollowed out, and Christian is put inside it. He's then put in the temple with the rest of the offerings.
The Final Scene When It All Burns Down
The ritual is completed when the temple is set ablaze. The rest of the villagers — and Dani — watch the building burn, with both corpses and living people inside. As it burns, the Hårga wail to empathize with their pain. Dani appears to go through a breakdown, but ends the film smiling, having reached a peaceful place. It's almost certain that she's going to stay there.
Between Pugh's moving performance and the viscerally affecting, brutal killings,
Midsommar isn't your average horror movie and it's not one you're likely to forget.