July 10, 2019 - Sweden's reputation as a setting for dark films can only grow after this entry from writer/director Ari Aster. The cast features Jack Reynor (A Royal Night Out) and Florence Pugh along with a sun that almost never sets.

Reynor and Pugh play Christian and Dani, a pair of American college students. They're among a group of friends who venture to northern Sweden to experience a midsummer celebration. It's traditional in the commune where one of those friends, Pelle, grew up. The trip comes as Christian and Dani have been dating for a while. Friends on both sides question whether they should stay together, and that's before Dani suffers a family tragedy and tries to lean on the emotionally distant Christian for support.

Anyway, off to Sweden they go. Pelle is very excited to introduce his friends from America. Likewise, they are very excited to share in the free-flowing psychedelic drugs and to learn about the commune's quaint traditions. Except it turns out that those traditions aren't so quaint. They're brutal and horrifying in support of the commune's quest for survival.

Overall review: *** The pastoral setting belies the horror that awaits. And, even though you know what's coming, you can't look away. The movie also scores on an emotional level as it examines how far someone might go just to feel like they belong.