[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Midsommar.”]
Bringing a young child to an Ari Aster movie probably isn’t the best idea. A24 is going viral after sharing a video of a young boy quickly running with his father out of a movie theater in the middle of a “Midsommar” screening. Aster’s latest was rated R by the MPAA for “disturbing ritualistic violence, grisly images, strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language,” so it’s not exactly a children’s movie.
“Midsommar” featured no shortage of horrific imagery, especially for kids. The story centers around a grieving young woman (Florence Pugh) who vacations to a remote Swedish village with her boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and discovers the townspeople are members of a pagan cult. In one sequence, Pugh and Reynor’s character bear witness to a cult ceremony in which two elderly citizens plunge off a cliff to their deaths. Aster shows the suicides in graphic detail. When one of the citizens does not die from the fall, a giant mallet is used to crush his skull. The movie also features full frontal male nudity and a climactic scene in which Reynor’s character participates in an orgy.
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Shortly before A24 opened “Midsommar,” Reynor spoke about why it was important for him to go full frontal. “There are so many films in the history of cinema, particularly in the horror genre, of really difficult and humiliating and expositional scenes of murder and sexual violence towards women and you don’t really see that kind of stuff in films where it happens to men,” he said. “I think it’s an interesting kind of flipping on its head of this is a male character suffering through a very kind of humiliating sequence of his fate.”
A24’s promotion of the video (embedded) recalls a similar viral moment that occurred in April 2018 involving Aster’s directorial debut, “Hereditary.” A movie theater in Australia accidentally played A24’s terrifying “Hereditary” trailer before a screening of the family movie “Peter Rabbit,” which caused a panic among moviegoers.
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“Midsommar” is now playing in theaters nationwide. A24 will premiere the director’s cut of the film August 17 during a horror festival at New York City’s Film at Lincoln Center.
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