Hereditary vs. Midsommar: A Horror Face Off


Ari Aster has recently become one of the most loved horror directors in history at a rampant pace. He’s released two movies in the span of two years, and is said to already have his third project in the works. The first movie released was called ‘Hereditary’ and the second, ‘Midsommar.’ While the two movies are dramatically different, there are definitely some similarities there and he should be applauded for his genius directing. Aster made a new standard for horror movies, as the both of them are so haunting in a way that no other director has ever been able to do before.

Hereditary initially seemed a lot darker than Midsommar could ever be and depending on who you ask, that’s still accurate. It was released on June 8th, 2018. From the beginning, it already establishes the relationship this family has with one another. Not being very close and trying their hardest to stick together. Most families are brought together by a tragic family death when one occurs, but in Hereditary it breaks their family apart even more. The moment that turns the entire film around would be one involving the two children in the Graham family. Peter goes to a party, where he meets up with friends and attempts to get to know a girl he likes. He’s forced by their mother, Annie, to take his little sister to the party with him. The sister, Charlie, doesn’t get much of a choice in whether or not she gets to go so she ends up getting dragged along. Both Peter and Charlie are very uncomfortable while they’re there and it’s noticeable. Peter leaves Charlie by herself so he can go be with his friends, but something happens. Charlie eats a brownie and has an allergic reaction to it and this is when the movie really takes off with shocking scene after scene. 

When a death does shockingly terrorize the family we see the family what appear to be real scenes where you can see that the character just doesn’t know how to cope. The mother struggles with trying to be a good parent when there’s always been a very noticeable gap in her relationship with her children. This itself leads to some genuinely depressing scenes, where it all, once again, just feels too real. Peter and Annie get into several pointless arguments where you just know that there is so much more that needs to be said between the two. Those types of scenes are what really made the movie great to me. The movie also took a dark turn going down the supernatural road in a way that will terrorize your inner being. 

Midsommar was Aster’s second movie that he released just this year in June. While the film had a much brighter and colorful color scheme, the story was anything but. It starts with our main character, Dani, worrying for her bipolar sister due to a string of vague texts. She looks to her emotionally distant boyfriend, Christian, for support and he tells her to just ignore all her remarks because it’s just a ‘plea for attention.’ Christian is seen with his friends, talking about Dani. His friends tell his to break up with her since their relationship had been on the rocks for over a year at that point. It’s revealed that Dani’s sister committed a murder-suicide on herself and their parents. A shot that’s similar to one from Hereditary plays out when Dani is seen crying into Christian’s lap. More painfully realistic screams are heard, this time from Dani. You can feel the pain of her losing her entire family. This causes her to be plunged into a pit of depression, where Christian now feels the need to stay with her, even though the incident caused even more of a strain on their relationship.

This movie has some very gruesome scenes that are hard to sit through, involving topics like suicides, sacrifice, murder, and much, much more. Just like Hereditary, the parts that really brought the movie home for me are the more realistic parts of it. For Midsommar, those aspects were the interactions between Dani and Christisn, more specifically, their relationship; a very unhealthy one.

There’s another couple showcased in the movie that have only been together for a few months and is already much closer and understanding with one another than the main characters are, which makes the viewer realize it even more. This can make some scenes in the movie way more uncomfortable than they’d be if the viewer hadn’t seen any of this information. There’s so much more to the film than just that, though. It’s a very intense and weird movie, so if you decide to watch it, I’d recommend going into it with a clear head.

The two movies have their differences, both have their ups and downs, but they’re both amazing movies! If asked which one is better, I honestly wouldn’t have an answer. The two movies are both amazing and so different that one can’t be chosen. Both movies are definitely worth a watch if you’re looking to be scarred for life… in a good way. A fair warning is that both films are very gruesome and graphic, so if you’re squeamish or get uncomfortable easily, these movies probably aren’t for you. Ari Aster is definitely making his impact on the horror movie community. His movies are way different than the ordinary. He, with the help of other new horror directors, is bringing horror to a golden age that no one has ever seen before.