Ari Aster

7.1 Hereditary
6.6 Midsommar

Ari Aster (USA, 1986) debuted, after the short film The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011), with the horror movie Hereditary (2018), a great horror movie spoiled by a silly and trivial ending. The film lays the foundation for a Rosemary Baby-kind of psychiatric drama but then opts for a much less interesting (and much less plausible) ending. The camera shows a room full of miniature homes and then moves into one of them, where a kid, Peter, is sleeping. An old woman just died, Ellen, who is being mourned at the memorial by her daughter Annie, although Annie does not hesitate to admit that she knows very little of Ellen's private life. Annie works as a artist who builds very detailed miniature homes and is preparing an exhibition. Her daughter Charlie is the one who will most miss granma because the was very attached. Charlie is an introverted girl who likes to draw on a sketchbook all sorts of pictures. She also makes an annoying sound with her mouth. While she is at school, a bird hits the window of the classroom. She collects the dead bird, cuts the head with scissors and pockets the head. The cemetery calls Ellen's husband Steve to tell him that someone has stolen the corpse of Ellen. He doesn't tell his wife. Annie joins a group therapy workshop where she reveals that her whole family has had mental problems, with her father starving himself to death and her brother also killing himself. Schoolmates invite Annie's teenage son Peter to a party and Annie forces him to take Charlie to the party to make sure that Peter will not drink. At the party Charlie impresses his favorite girl by showing that he has marijuana. The kids move to a separate room to smoke it. Charlies shows up with problems breathing: she has eaten a cake containing nuts to which she is allergic. She is suffocating. Peter carries her to the car and starts driving very fast to reach the hospital but along the way he swerves to avoid a deer just when Charlie has her head outside the window: Charlie is decapitated by an electric pole. Peter doesn't have the courage to look at the dead body. He drives slowly home and simply goes to bed. In the morning he hears his mother walk out the house and then scream when she finds Charlie's dead and beheaded body. After the funeral Peter is back at doing drugs with his classmates but he almost suffocates himself. Annie is approached by Joan, a woman she met at the group therapy. Joan tells her that she too had survive the death of someone close to her: her son and grandson, who drowned. At home Peter can't sleep: he sees and hears Charlie in his room. Annie tells Joan that she used to sleepwalk and once she found herself in the children's room ready to set fire to them and herself, and that Peter never forgave her. Back at home she starts building a miniature reconstruction of the car accident, including Charlie's severed head, which horrifies her husband Steve. During lunch she loses her temper with Peter, who has never apologized for the accident. He retorts that she is the one who insisted that Charlie attend the party. Joan begs Annie to attend a seance during which Joan successfully communicates with her grandson. Joan gives Anne instructions on how to try this at home. That night Annie has a nightmare in which she sees Peter's body covered with ants. She wakes up in his room in front of a terrified Peter: she was sleepwalking. She breaks down and admit to Peter that she didn't want him and tried all sorts of tricks to provoke an abortion. But maybe this was a dream too. Annie wakes up Peter and Steve to perform a seance together. Steve is reluctant but then acquiesces. The seance results in objects responding to her invocation of Charlie. Eventually, Steve interrupts her performance in which she was adopting Charlie's voice when the situation becomes violent. Peter has a nightmare in which his mother tries to strangle him. Annie, thinking that Charlie is now possessed by a demon, tries to burn Charlie's sketchbook but the book survives and instead her sweater catches fire. Annie drives to Joan's apartment for advice but Joan is not there: Joan is doing some magic on Peter at school. At home Annie searches through her mother's boxes and finds Satanic books and pictures of her mother with Joan: Joan never mentioned that she was a good friend of her mother. Annie searches the attic and finds a headless corpse covered with flies, presumably the corpse of her mother. As this happens at home, in school Peter is possessed and slams his head on his desk, breaking his nose. Steve drives Peter home and blames his wife's madness for Peter's trauma. Annie, however, is more convinced than ever that there is a demonic plot to turn Peter into a demon king. Annie begs Steve to check the attic. Steve finds the corpse and accuses Annie of being the one who dug it up from the grave and put it there. Annie begs Steve to burn Charlie's sketchbook. Steve refuses to believe her nonsense. Annie throws the book in the fire. Steve catches fire and is burned alive. Peter finds his father's charred body and then is chased around the house by a ferocious Annie. He locks himself in the attic but jumps out the window when he finds the corpse and sees some people next to it and notices a picture of himself in the middle of a circle of candles and sees her mother cutting her own head with a wire. Peter gets up unharmed but his mouth makes the sound that Charlie was always making. He walks towards Charlie's treehouse, where he sees that someone is pulling up his mother's decapitated body. He climbs the stairs and finds a group of people kneeling in front of a crucifix of the demon king. Joan calls him "Charlie" instead of Peter and crowns him as the demon king Paimon: Charlie was the one chosen for that role but only a male can become Paimon, hence the transfer of Charlie into Peter's male body. The treehouse is one of the miniature homes built by Annie for her exhibition.

Midsommar (2019)

(Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )