“Midsommar” was director Ari Aster’s excellent follow-up to last year’s “Hereditary.” The cult horror film disturbed and provoked a wealth of discussions from audiences addressing its observations on broken relationships, the dangers of traditionalism, the seasons of life and the difficulties that come with “properly” expressing grief.
Mixing these themes in with blissful, almost blinding daylight photography, intense graphic violence and dark humor made “Midsommar” a unique theatrical experience that, despite how people felt about it, made it nigh-unforgettable. With its release on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on October 8, I decided to revisit the film and see how well the home video held up.
Read our “Midsommar” film review here.
Unfortunately, the movie wasn’t released in a 4K format, which, for such a spellbindingly gorgeous piece, is almost criminal. However, the Blu-ray transfer served well. I noticed no fuzzy spots; the clarity on each design element of the production was impeccable. Colors popped just as bright as ever, and in a movie with an abundance of flower crowns, they needed to work. Some of the movie’s wide shots still left my jaw on the floor with how immaculately they were composed. If you have a large TV, there’s no excuse to avoid this release.
I’m not sure if the following is because I have a relatively cheap soundbar, but I noticed the sound mix was off at some points. When characters were having intimate conversations, the volume is so low, I had to raise it almost to the maximum level. Once the movie picked up, the soundbar blared and it was frustrating to have to constantly adjust the volume.
The movie didn’t have too much in the way of special features: a few trailers, a cheesy ‘90s-inspired promo for A24’s “Bear in a Cage” toy and a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film. Unfortunately, the Director’s Cut, which was theatrically released in August, didn’t make it onto the U.S. Blu-ray. However, the U.K. Blu-ray, to be released October 28, has this cut, which is 30 minutes longer and provides more insight into the damaged relationship and tribe dynamics. If you want to catch this particular version and you live in the States, you’ll have to grab a region-free Blu-ray player or a U.K. region-coded player — otherwise, the disc won’t play.
The documentary was about 20 minutes long and focused on the craft of putting the film together. Footage of cameras on dolly tracks, the village slowly built in time-lapse and the artwork present on every single article of clothing gave the impression that every element of “Midsommar” was in Aster’s head throughout production. It was a stellar feat, even more so to build that type of detailed film on an $8 million budget.
However, the star of the bonus features is that ‘90s-esque promo, complete with wacky angles, strange zooms and a pair of precocious kids gawking and ogling at this incredibly strange toy. After seeing such R-rated fare, it’s funny to see how the promo edits in safe-for-work clips of the film. The bear doesn’t have catchphrases; it doesn’t shoot darts — hell, it doesn’t even growl, but rather just sits in a cage. Tickle Me Elmo, eat your heart out.
If you’re a fan of “Midsommar,” “Hereditary,” Ari Aster or a healthy blast of disturbed, uncomfortable humor, I can’t stress how important it is that you head out and grab a copy. The movie’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen and it looks oh-so-good at home.
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Featured image credit: A24
Daniel Berrios watches movies in Dallas with his wife and three meowing children. When not watching movies, he’s likely writing about them or discussing them on his YouTube channel. Outside of film, he enjoys “Borderlands,” cooking and playing a guitar that desperately needs new strings.