Film, Go To

GO TO: Midsommar (2019) dir. Ari Aster & Season of the Witch (1973) dir. George Romero

8/28-29 @ Somerville



Unhealthy relationships and the women who are sick of them is the common theme in the double-feature of Midsommar (2019), and Season of the Witch (1973) at Somerville Theater.

A favorite horror film of mine, I was excited to view Midsommar again alongside a new flick for me, Season of the Witch. You remember hearing talk of the horror movie that was so unique in taking place in broad, sunny daylight? Well, that’s Midsommar. And you know Ari Aster, the slow-burn, head-trauma, and naked people loving writer/director of Hereditary fame? You guessed it, Midsommar is his as well—and it shows.

Midsommar opens up with a swift kick in the proverbial gonads, following Dani (Florence Pugh) after a traumatic loss in her life. Begrudgingly her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), invites her along with a group of his friends on a trip to a Swedish commune for a midsummer festival, and much to his disappointment, she agrees. (The best I can come up with is his guilt keeps him from leaving her—all the same, why exactly are they together?)

Midsommar is filmed beautifully, with a hallucinogen-fueled trip (literal and figurative) through the festival. The tension builds throughout the film, exploring Dani’s grief and search to find her place in the world. All the while easter eggs drop throughout, foreshadowing the rituals to come by the end of the movie.

It is certainly not for the faint of heart, and some of the chaos seems crazy to the point of funny—or perhaps I’m only laughing because certain scenes are so bizarre, but I’m not sure what else to do. While I’m not sure how the people of Sweden feel about this depiction of a midsummer festival, Midsommar is a solid horror movie that will likely stay with you after seeing it on the big screen.

Moving on to George Romero’s Season of the Witch—as previously mentioned, this film was new to me and made for an interesting companion to Midsommar. Season of the Witch follows Joan (Jan White), and her seemingly lackluster suburban existence. A clear commentary on changes in the times, Joan is haunted by nightly dreams depicting her life with her husband, feeling like she is essentially his dog.

One day, while out with a group of friends, the conversation drifts to talk of a new neighbor named Marion (Virginia Greenwald). She is rumored to practice witchcraft. While skeptical at first, Joan accompanies her friends to a Tarot reading from Marion and is mesmerized. Cue a trip to the local magic shop, Joan purchases a book on witchcraft and never looks back.

While not as visually eerie as Midsommar (it does feel a little dated, which makes sense given its release year), Season of the Witch offers up some interesting insights as Joan gets more involved in witchcraft and a local coven, moving from being a slave to her husband to a slave to the figurative dark side. It made me wonder, is one really all that different than the other? Joan’s indifference towards anything in her life other than her newfound power seems to answer that question, at least in her own mind.

Each film in this double feature explores the life of a woman trapped by circumstance, and the journey to find her chosen place. If they find empowerment or a new place of oppression is a question left for the viewer. I’m still not totally convinced either way.



dir. Ari Aster

140 min.

Season of the Witch


George Romero 89 min.


Double Feature @ Somerville Theater 8/28-29.

Midsommar 1:40pm & 7:00pm 8/28, 7:00pm 8/29.

Season of the Witch @ 4:30pm.

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