Midsommar is a 2019 mystery horror film that was written and directed by Ari Aster and starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, and Will Poulter. It follows a group of friends who travel to Sweden for a festival that occurs once every ninety years and find themselves in the clutches of a pagan cult.
A co-production between the United States and Sweden, the film was initially pitched as a straightforward slasher film set among Swedish cultists. Aster devised a screenplay using elements from the concept but made a deteriorating relationship the central conflict after he had experienced a difficult breakup. The film was shot on location in Budapest in the summer and autumn of 2018.
Midsommar was theatrically released in the United States on July 3, 2019 by A24 Studios and in Sweden on July 10, 2019 by Nordisk Film. The film received positive reviews from film critics, with many praising Aster’s direction and Pugh’s performance.
The Film Itself (4/5):
I feel the need to start this review off with the fact that it’s based on the theatrical cut of the film. Currently, the Director’s Cut of Midsommar is not available on physical media within the United States. That said, I went into this movie with a significant amount of curiosity because of the amount of hype among members of the /r/dvdcollection subreddit. With promises of this movie being mentally disturbing and thought provoking, my wife and I thoroughly looked forward to it. That said, I felt that the Theatrical Cut left a little more open to interpretation, predominantly around the topic of pagan rituals. Either way, we found the story as a whole to be pretty thought provoking, the portrayal and result of some of the rituals that played out were extremely interesting, and overall we found ourselves hooked right from the beginning. Pacing felt a little slow at times, but a lot of it felt necessary with the foundation being built, so I can’t complain too terribly much there.
Picture Quality (4.75/5):
The Blu-ray release of Midsommar gives viewers a 2.00:1 presentation courtesy of Lionsgate Films. Digitally recorded with Panavision Millennium DXL2 cameras, the movie finished off with a 4K Digital Intermediate. Overall, everything about this film was visually appealing and generally showed some of the more scenic and beautiful landscapes of Sweden. Even some of the scenes where they were made to look like the characters were drugged out played a number on everything as the visual representation of it played out similar to that of an acid trip. The finer details of the more brutal moments had a nice “ehh” effect as my wife and I cringed at their severity. Overall, the presentation of the Blu-ray was solid, and I can really imagine how good this would look with the benefits of HDR on a 4K release.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Packaged with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, the Blu-ray release of Midsommar provides a pretty cumbersome and integrated experience. While it’s not as immersive as it could’ve been, I do feel that at least the inclusion of the surround channels would have played more into the subtle nuances the film gave visually, enhancing the viewer experience as a whole. Other than that minor complaint about it, the audio was pretty clean, with a nice distinction between the environmental effects and the dialogue. The transitions from channel to channel were seamless and smooth, and the dialogue was presented cleanly, allowing everyone to be heard and understood without any need to adjust the volume levels.
The Packaging (3/5):
The Blu-ray release of Midsommar comes packaged in the standard two-disc Blu-ray amaray case. The Blu-ray disc features some artwork that’s relative to the movie, and different from any other piece of art in the release. The DVD only bears the standard release text. There is a digital copy redemption pamphlet included as well as a slipcover that’s been made available in the initial print run.
Special Features (1/5):
There are only a couple of special features included with the Blu-ray release of Midsommar. Given the hype surrounding his movie, I personally expected more. The content that is available offers a nicely done overview of the film, and how it evolved into the finished product we are given today. But, there could’ve been more given in terms of historical significance of the presentation, an expansion of some of the sources they used in coming up with what happens, and experiences with the cast and/or crew. Included with this release is:
- Let the Festivities Begin: Manifesting Midsommar
- Bear in a Cage Promo
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English SDH, Spanish
Original Film: 147 Minutes
Overall, Midsommar was an experience that I know that I’m going to be revisiting. Whether the things carried out are historically accurate or not, or even when the Director’s Cut becomes available on a physical medium in the US, the story has an aspect that has my wife and I doing some research and reading to learn more. The visual and audio presentation of the Blu-ray release was nicely done and offered a really clean experience. If you’re looking to add this release to your collection, I would without a doubt recommend picking it up … that is, if you can’t wait for the eventual re-release containing the Director’s Cut. Midsommar is available on Blu-ray and DVD today.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.