Critics and audiences don't always see eye to eye on movies, with some films that earn high critical praise not earning much at the box office while blockbusters can set financial records, despite abysmal reviews. While a number of different websites compile critical reviews of a film, CinemaScore instead polls audiences on their way out of films to learn how satisfied they were with the film they just saw. Given that these are audiences who paid money to see a film in their opening weekend, CinemaScores are typically quite high, but the critically-praised horror movie Midsommar only scored a C+ from the service.
By comparison, films like The Curse of La LLorona and Ma both earned B- CinemaScores, despite Rotten Tomatoes calculating 30% and 55% of reviews being positive, respectively, for those horror films.
Interestingly, Midsommar's score is stronger than director Ari Aster's previous horror film, Hereditary, which earned an even lower D+ CinemaScore. The two films from Aster display the trend of the difference between critical and public opinion, as Midsommar has 83% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes as compared to Hereditary's 89% positive.
Midsommar follows a teenage guy (Jack Reynor) who wants to break up with his girlfriend (Florence Pugh), however, holds off after a personal tragedy. This emotional build-up happens to be occurring as both are headed to a crazy nine-day festival, which only happens every 90 years, a Swedish-puritan type celebration of love and glee — with some horrific results.
In addition to Reynor and Pugh, Midsommar stars Will Poulter,
Both Hereditary and Midsommar have clear cult themes and, while Aster admits there might be some thematic similarities, fans shouldn't consider his new film a continuation of his debut.
"There's no Paimon involved," Aster shared with Fandango. "But I would say that the film is something of a companion to Hereditary, although the similarities didn't really occur to me until we were on set. And thematic ties became apparent to me. But nothing so overt as Paimon worshipping."
Despite the similarities between the two films, Aster offered a disclaimer for those viewers who are expecting an experience like Hereditary.
"Now I'm fully aware of expectations, and the film is not Hereditary," Aster clarified. "It's really leaning more on suspense than it is scares. In some ways, it's more surreal. I would say Hereditary absolutely was a horror film, unabashedly, and this film is, I am very careful to call it an adult fairy tale. That's what this is. This is an adult contemporary fairy tale."
Midsommar is in theaters now.
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