One of IndieWire’s most anticipated films of the summer movie season is “Midsommar,” Ari Aster’s follow-up to his breakout horror debut “Hereditary.” Aster’s quick return to the horror genre has led many fans to wonder if the two movies will share something of a connection. Aster has kept “Midsommar” under as much secrecy as possible outside of A24’s two trailers, but in a recent interview with Fandango he let it slip that “Midsommar” is a surprise companion to “Hereditary.” However, the connection is not found in the plot.
“There’s nothing as explicit as [worshipping King Paimon],” Aster said of “Midsommar.” “There’s no Paimon involved. 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.”
One way Aster sees “Midsommar” as being similar to “Hereditary” is that the film was not constructed as a horror movie. If “Hereditary” was Aster’s family drama dressed up as a horror movie, then “Midsommar” is the same but using the relationship drama.
“The hope is take what would otherwise be your standard issue relationship-in-trouble drama where the couple go on a trip, which is always the weird thing to do if your relationship is on shaky legs,” Aster said. “It’s in the same ballpark as having a child to save your relationship. It sort of takes that germ and then kind of blows it up and allows it to grow into some operatic, extremely heightened surreal places.”
Aster decided to go in a different route when it came to the look of the film. The director reunited with his “Hereditary” cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski for the new film but traded in the dark shadows of “Hereditary” with glaring sunlight.
“It is a film that is naggingly bright,” Aster said. “All the way through. In fact, once they arrive in Horka, which is what the place is called — the community — we never leave the daylight. It stays bright all the way through the film. It’s certainly a thing. Once we were making the film, our attention definitely went there.”
Despite Aster realizing that his two horror films share a surprise connection while he was making “Midsommar,” the director warns fans the films will feel incredibly different. Aster says “Midsommar” leans “more on suspense than scares” and “in some ways is 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,” the director added. “That’s what this is. This is an adult contemporary fairy tale.”
A24 opens “Midsommar” in theaters July 3.