Earlier this summer, horror fans saw new entries into iconic franchises with Child's Play and Annabelle Comes Home, satiating some audiences looking for genre efforts in theaters. While these films earned mixed reviews, audiences also witnessed Midsommar, a much more ambitious genre film than the familiar movies that hit theaters weeks prior. Critics largely praised the film for its depictions of not only straightforward horror elements but also more psychological and emotional terrors, even if audiences didn't come out to see it en masse. For those who checked out Midsommar and are inspired to check out similar films, we've got you covered.
From writer/director Ari Aster, Midsommar follows a graduate student (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.
Whether they be similar in tone or in their narratives, scroll down to see what movies you should check out after enjoying Midsommar!
When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.
Hereditary was a major genre hit at last year's Sundance Film Festival, only for the emotionally exhausting experience to earn mixed reviews from audiences when it landed in theaters. If you enjoyed Midsommar's blend of existential and terrestrial terrors, Hereditary is a must-see, putting Aster's compelling storytelling and visual style on full display.prevnext
In Fear (2013)
A new couple hopes to take their relationship to the next level by heading to a music festival in the remote countryside. As darkness descends upon them, finding their destination grows more difficult, cranking up the tension as they both become more and more frustrated with one another. Unfortunately, being lost is the least of their worries as a mysterious tormentor sets their sights on terrorizing the couple.
What makes In Fear and Midsommar such nerve-racking experiences is the ways in which they take a situation which has all the potential to be immensely joyful, only for mundane setbacks to eat away at our protagonists. Whether it's with friends, family, or a romantic partner, road trip anxieties have a unique and devastating impact on even the most solid of relationships.prevnext
The Wicker Man (1973)
After receiving a mysterious letter, a police officer heads to a remote island community to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. The officer can't seem to get a straight answer out of anyone, as he's also intimidated and intrigued by the community's spiritual beliefs and embrace of sexuality. As he continues to uncover clues, the narrative only gets more complex, leading to a shocking ending.
Not to be confused with the Nicolas Cage-starring remake, the original Wicker Man helped set the standard for folk-based horror. Strong performances and a multi-layered narrative help make the film a strong depiction of the horrors people can commit upon one another all in pursuit of appeasing a higher power.prevnext
Both the original Norwegian film and the American remake of the same name focus on a detective who heads to a small town above the Arctic Circle to investigate a murder. The narrative unfolds at a time during the summer in which the sun never sets, which begins to drive the detective mad from his lack of sleep and inability to keep his days straight, as the killer taunts him and his crumbling psyche.
What makes both Midsommar and Insomnia such shocking experiences is that, while many horror films can manipulate light and shadow to create more effective scares, these films offer a more unconventional experience, with many scenes taking place in full daylight. Both stories fully utilize the ways in which the lighting conditions can take a toll on those unfamiliar with them, yet still feature thrilling and tense sequences.prevnext
Kill List (2011)
A blend of multiple genres, Kill List explores the adventures of a hitman carrying out his deadly deeds on his unwitting victims, only for a bizarre pattern to begin to emerge. The assassin's career takes him on an even more disturbing journey than the already-deadly adventure, uncovering bigger forces at play that are manipulating him like a puppet.
Throughout the film, Kill List jumps from being a drama to an action-thriller to a horror movie, offering something for everyone. As the hitman adds to his body count, the film gets increasingly complex, revealing that every step along the way was all part of one master, sinister plan.prevnext
When a spy returns home to his wife after a grueling mission, their relationship is strained, with her requesting a divorce. While the husband hopes to salvage the relationship, forgiving his wife for finding a new partner, they regularly get into highly-charged arguments, driving them further apart. In hopes of discovering the identity of his wife's new suitor, the spy uncovers something far more frightening and disturbing than he could have ever imagined.
Whereas many other of the recommend films begin as relationship dramas that descend into horror, Possession features some of the most disturbing sequences of them all, yet still manages to be a relationship drama above all else. Rather than thrusting our protagonists into a dark situation, the film's more unsettling sequences are more allegorical in nature, creating an otherworldly interpretation of the emotions suffered during a separation, anchored by captivating performances from Isabelle Adjani and Sam Neill.prevnext
Hour of the Wolf (1968)0comments
From writer/director Ingmar Bergman, Hour of the Wolf explores an artist and his wife heading to a remote island so he can focus on his creative endeavors. As the pair begins to meet their bizarre neighbors, they both suffer from unsettling visions, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Much like Midsommar, the film largely feels like a relationship drama, only for the more horrific elements to slowly and organically creep into the narrative. Hour of the Wolf warns of the dangers of relationships with self-centered narcissists and having your darkest emotional fears manifested into real-world encounters.prev