After suffering a family tragedy, Dani (Florence Pugh) joins her anxiety-afflicted girlfriend Christian (Jack Reynor of Sing Street and Cherry) and his college anthropology pals Mark (Will Poulter), earnest Josh, and the hedonistic Pelle on an expedition to Sweden to study a folkloric midsummer celebration. But the cult they visit is anything but benign.
As far as modern horror films go, Hereditary is an extraordinarily unnerving experience. It’s a movie that, unlike the recent megaplex hit A Quiet Place, isn’t content with just throwing its audience into the terrifying uncertainty of a family’s suburban home. Instead, writer-director Ari Aster uses deft hints to build a sense of foreboding throughout the film’s 127 minute run time.
Hereditary is a study in grief and loss. The family’s reaction to the death of a grandmother and mother-figure is a prism through which we see several different types of human emotion. The fear of a child in the face of bereavement, the desire to assign blame, and the stoic resolution of some characters; Hereditary reveals all of these emotions through its evocative storytelling and fantastically compelling performances.
Toni Collette’s performance is nothing short of astounding, her Annie Graham wearing a buried rage and guilt that secretly dominates her. Hereditary is a psychologically disturbing drama that will have viewers asking themselves if what they’re watching is real or if it’s just a nightmare. It’s a film that demands to be watched and discussed. It’s also a ibomma telugu movie that proves the significance of female representation in cinema.
The 2019 horror film Midsommar, written and directed by Ari Aster, did for Swedish summer holidays what James Cameron’s 1997 movie Titanic did for transatlantic voyages: It spiked Google searches while generating a storm of praise from critics and polarizing audiences. The movie is a deeply unsettling and provocative examination of grief and the disintegration of a relationship, set against the backdrop of a pagan festival that seems to be turning into a nightmare.
Florence Pugh’s Dani is a psychology student coping with an unfathomable loss, and she turns to her not-always-reliable boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) for consolation. He invites her along on a trip to a tiny Swedish village to observe the Harga festival, which they both seem to view as a kind of anthropological field work.
Aster’s admirers will recognize his shivery command of pace and tone here, as well as a few signature formal gestures—elegantly jarring transitions, eerie dream sequences, a camera that remains alert even when it’s at a remove from the action. But this is not Hereditary 2.0; it’s a more deliberate, drawn-out picture, less overtly frightening, and more concerned with the subcutaneous sense of fear of being imprisoned in a strange culture, in this life, in this body. The film bristles with this dread, and it’s made more potent by Pugh’s luminous performance.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
It’s a testament to Stieg Larsson’s writing that a film version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the international bestseller that has taken the world by storm over the past couple years, still feels fresh and exciting. That’s mainly because of the movie’s most important element: its lead character, Lisbeth Salander. She’s a magnetic, fascinating, complicated character with a moral compass and a desire to defeat the corrupt masculine nature of the world around her.
Daniel Craig, who played Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, is a suitably cool Blomkvist, while Joel Edgerton and Amanda Seyfried add depth to their roles as Harriet Vanger’s inquisitive niece and her shady boyfriend. But the real star here is Rooney Mara, whose performance as Salander oozes with power. She’s a stunning physical contradiction: bold but trying to hide, introverted but ferociously aggressive. It’s a remarkable performance that could earn her an Oscar nomination.
This Swedish thriller features plenty of controversial content, including rape, forced oral sex, and a number of violent murders. But it also touches on some more significant themes, such as mental instability, broken families, violence against women, and corporate corruption. The film is well worth a watch, especially for its powerful performances and stunning cinematography. Plus, it’s a great way to see Noomi Rapace, who plays Lisbeth in the American remake, before she became known for her role as Dr. Shaw in the blockbuster Prometheus.
In a film career that includes two Oscar nominations for acting (Hereditary and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Vilhelm Blomgren has never made such a nakedly exploitative movie as The Hunt. The film’s premise — wealthy liberals are systematically hunting and killing conservative people — has the potential to provoke outrage, especially in the wake of recent mass shootings. Yet director Craig Zobel (Compliance, Z for Zachariah) and co-writers Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof (both of HBO’s superb The Leftovers) treat the idea as a one-note joke stretched to 89 minutes.
The film stars Mads Mikkelsen as Lucas, a primary school teacher accused of sexually abusing Klara, a student at his school. After his arrest, he’s subjected to intense scrutiny and ultimately branded a child predator by the community. The ensuing hunt reveals a degraded humanity that makes it easy to understand why Klara turned against her family.
The Hunt is a bloody, but not very clever exploitation B-movie. The violence is gratuitous if cartoonish; characters are reduced to one-line stereotypes (a Wyoming rancher, a white wannabe rapper, an Ivanka fan in leggings) and are picked off with rifles, bows, and arrows. Fortunately, the movie has one bright spot in Betty Gilpin (Netflix’s GLOW). She’s a ray of light in a dark, mean-spirited piece. In the end, The Hunt fails to achieve its satirical potential because it lacks depth and complexity.