Midsommar (dir. Ari Aster, 2019) – A visit to Swedish village’s midsummer festival gradually devolves into a series of chilling rituals.
Dani (Florence Pugh) is in a bad place. She has just lost her whole family to a horrific murder-suicide, and the only loved one she has left is her estranged boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor). She holds fast to the tenuous connection for fear of being alone, joining him and his friends on their midsummer vacation in Sweden.
There, Christian’s friends make clear their disdain for her presence, adding to Dani’s grief. Her anxiety heightens as she tries to hide it. But her emotional dependence on an unappreciative partner leaves her visibly vulnerable, as though without him, she may fall.
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Hereditary (dir. Ari Aster, 2018) – After the death of the Grahams’ matriarch, the family starts to unravel terrifying secrets about their ancestry.
Hereditary pulls us deep into disorienting madness of suffocating intensity, both real and imagined.
The Grahams are haunted, though ghosts play little part in their malaise. Hereditary takes a leaf from Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby that takes interest in deep-seated human paranoia with just a side of the supernatural, clawing the surface mud for invisible anxieties beneath the everyman.
Such fears have consumed Annie (Toni Collette) from a very young age. Some of which owes to her mother, whose mysterious past hides ancestral secrets darker than she ever imagined. The revelations pull Annie into the cabalistic world that soon endangers her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and teenage children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro).
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Difficult themes of incest and abuse are confronted head on in The Strange Thing About The Johnsons. The bold move has paid off for director Ari Aster, whose 30-minute directorial debut stirred immediate reactions across the Web. Myriads swam towards the controversy, rushing to find the short to satisfy their curiosity. What awaits is an artfully provocative film, unafraid to tackle the darkest corners of humanity.
The intense satirical tale centres on a seemingly perfect family, who hides insidious secrets behind a smiling facade. Unbeknownst to their smiling neighbours and friends, Sidney (Billy Mayo) shares an incestuous relationship with his son; Isaiah (Brandon Greenhouse) has been molesting his father since he was twelve.
The disturbing subject of incest, taboo to many, makes for dark intrigue. But it is the reverse expectations that rouse interest. It is disorienting to see the exchanged roles of father and son in this abusive relationship, where the latter is more likely to be the victim. The inverted relations do well to evoke additional discomfort.
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