Midsommar, released in 2019, was director Ari Aster’s second feature film after critically successful Hereditary the year prior.
Midsommar isn’t quite like many other horror movies. It is, for one, bright. Taking place at the height of the Swedish summer, this isn’t a film with a lot of nighttime jump scares. Instead, it moves at a slow, dread-building pace—as Aster expertly builds up a sense of overwhelming unease.
The film follows a group of friends as they visit another friend’s village in Sweden—a remote, rural community that is about to celebrate its famed Midsommar festival. The village, of course, is far from a normal community, and the longer the group spends the weirder and, ultimately, more horrifying, things get.
Aster’s direction in Midsommar is exceptional, and after watching it, you might be wondering what else out there could possibly match the experience. It’s unlikely we’ll ever be getting a sequel, but here are some recommendations for movies that just might appeal to you if you loved Midsommar.
It would be impossible to write this list without adding Hereditary. As Aster’s first full feature film, many of the themes present in Midsommar are also on full display in this American-based film, notably the way it deals with grief.
Hereditary is a film about a grandmother who passes away, leaving her distant daughter, son in law and two grandchildren to deal with a haunting spirit over the family. As the film progresses, it reveals that there is more to this seemingly random haunting than it may seem. Like Midsommar, Hereditary builds on a sense of dread and unease that eventually crescendoes in an unforgettable final act.
Both Hereditary and Midsommar have great casts. But the performance of Toni Collete as Annie Graham, in particular, is a standout performance in the entire horror genre. If you liked the style of Midsommar and want something similar, but with its own unique story then Hereditary is a must-watch.
Netflix’s The Ritual is an obvious next step for fans of Midsommar. Also based in Sweden and around ancient pagan rituals, The Ritual focuses far more on supernatural horror and is slightly more of a traditional horror film.
The movie follows four friends who travel to a mountainous region of Switzerland to scatter the ashes of a recently deceased friend. While there, the team decides to take a shortcut through an ancient forest — only to discover that these woods host an ancient evil.
Released in 2018, Apostle is another film that stands out amongst the folk-horror genre. In this film, Thomas Richardson returns home to find that his sister has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by a murderous cult. As you’d expect his objective is to rescue her, which he does by posing as a convert to gain the trust of the people and ultimately unearth a more sinister threat.
Another Netflix film, Apostle is something that most people are going to have access to. While the production and visuals of this film are far different from that of Midsommar, if you are after more narrative-driven horror full of twists, extremely graphic visuals, and the same uneasy atmosphere you’ll find in Aster’s work then there is no looking past this folk-horror gem.
While at first Kill List might seem like your standard crime drama film, the movie takes a drastic turn midway through its runtime into full folk-horror goodness. A pair of ex-hitman are tasked with eliminating three targets, however, this isn’t your regular contract kill, this deal was sealed in blood. As the pair continue through their mission they begin to realize that there is something bigger at play here and all isn’t quite how it seems.
Kill List shares similarities to Midsommar with its main characters being a couple struggling with relationship issues and its stark editing that highlights the film’s more violent moments. With its gory kills, rituals, and many of the other tropes you’d expect from folk-horror, fans of Midsommar should definitely check out Kill List.
A Field in England
Director Ben Wheatley’s follow-up to Kill List, A Field in England is set in the mid-17th century as a group of English Civil War defectors are apprehended by a pair of mysterious men. The group discovers that their captor is an alchemist and he then forces them to assist him in searching for a treasure that he believes is buried within a field.
Without giving away too much of the plot, Like most of the films on this list, Pagan folklore is on full display in this film. A Field in England does an excellent job of immersing the viewer in its narrative both with an excellent story, but also with the use of black and white visuals that help to keep the suspense at a maximum and help sell the times of this period piece.