Jordan Peele Praises ‘Midsommar’: An Iconic Pagan Movie With ‘Atrociously Disturbing Images’

Zack Sharf

Jordan Peele and Ari Aster became new masters of American horror after their debut films, “Get Out” and “Hereditary,” instantly became genre classics upon release. Both directors return in 2019 with their sophomore efforts, with Peele having already released “Us” to critical acclaim and box office success. Aster is up next with the July release of “Midsommar,” which has already made a giant fan of Peele. The two directors sit down for a discussion in the new issue of Fangoria (via Entertainment Weekly) and Peele has nothing but raves to share about “Midsommar.”

“When I texted you after the screening, I wrote, ‘I think you’ve made the most idyllic horror film of all time,'” Peele says. “You’ve taken ‘Stepford Wives’ and shattered the attractiveness of that movie with this one. That alone is a feat. Also, there are some obvious comps out there, but this movie is just so unique. This hasn’t existed yet, and anything after ‘Midsommar’ is going to have to contend with it. I mean, this usurps ‘The Wicker Man’ as the most iconic pagan movie to be referenced.”

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Aster reunited with his “Hereditary” cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski on the new film, but the two horror titles couldn’t look more different. Whereas “Hereditary” was all dark, menacing shadows, “Midsommar” is all brightly over-lit sunshine. Peele says that’s one of the film’s biggest strengths.

“I’m a staunch believer that audiences are so accustomed to claustrophobic, dirty horror movies that situate them in places they wouldn’t elect to be, that the innate slickness of ‘Hereditary’ and the sheer vacation that ‘Midsommar’ provides, to me, is a recipe for, ‘I want to go see that movie,'” the “Us” director tells Aster. “So actually, I think that’s a really commercially savvy choice.”

Peele goes on to call “Midsommar” an “ascension of horror” because of how the story progresses. “I didn’t feel victimized,” the director says. “I felt like I was being put up on this pedestal and honored through the eyes of the protagonist.”

Peele continues, “It’s a very unique feeling for a film to conjure because after it ended, I found myself looking back at the final act like, ‘Holy shit. That was some of the most atrociously disturbing imagery I’ve ever seen on film, and yet I experienced it with this open-mouthed, wild-eyed gape.’ I think that part of how we get there is never reducing the villains to any kind of snarling monsters with an evil agenda.”

A24 is set to release “Midsommar” on July 3. As IndieWire reported earlier this week, the film is set to terrorize moviegoers for two hours and 20 minutes.

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