5 Movies to Watch Before ‘Midsommar’

Ari Aster’s Hereditary was the horror film of 2018, making tongue-clicking and chalkboards the stuff of nightmares. Now, the latest Ari Aster film Midsommar is here to make us even more afraid of pagan rituals, daylight, and worst of all, graduate students.

In Midsommar, a group of students travels to Sweden to experience a midsummer festival and find something much more horrifying. Before you check out Aster’s daylight horror flick, you should prepare for the scares by watching some of the movies that inspired Midsommar and some of the films that reflect the same kind of folk horror. 

Ari Aster
Ari Aster | Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

So, while you wait for Midsommar to come out on DVD and digital streaming platforms, check out these movies. 

5) ‘The Village’ 

Directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan, The Village is a great introduction to folk and cult horror with its hauntingly quiet tone and overwhelmingly rural atmosphere. 

In this psychological horror film, a village of people lives quietly in isolation and fear of the creatures that roam in the woods. The people have a tense agreement with the creatures: if they stay away from the woods, they will not be harmed. When a villager becomes sick, another villager has no choice but to venture through the woods over to the next town to find supplies and medicine. 

The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sigourney Weaver, Adrien Brody, and William Hurt. 

4) ‘The Witch’ 

Colonial times were an absolute nightmare on their own without any help from the supernatural. In this period horror piece by filmmaker, Robert Eggers, we can see the pure terror that is bred from suspicion, grief, and paranoia. 

In 17th century New England, a Puritan family becomes increasingly paranoid and terrified of the looming presence of a witch in the woods. Things become worse when the youngest child goes missing, leading the family to suspect one another of witchcraft and testing the strength of their bonds. Is the threat real, or simply a figment of their imaginations? 

The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson.

3) ‘Dogville’ 

Lars von Trier is known for creating somber, disturbing works of cinematic fiction and Dogville is no exception. This film actually had a large role in inspiring Ari Aster while he worked on Midsommar

A young woman named Grace is on the run from the mob. She takes sanctuary in a seemingly safe Colorado town where the townspeople agree to keep her safe as long as she continues to work for them. She soon learns that the help will come at a price as she is subjected to abuse and exploitation at the hands of the town. 

The film stars Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, John Hurt, and Siobhan Fallon Hogan. 

2) ‘Hereditary’ 

Ari Aster’s first feature-length film, Hereditary is the first and last word in transgenerational horror. With a story that’s as bleak as it is disturbing, Aster creates a well-spun horror tale based on grief and family drama that people will be talking about for years to come. 

When the family matriarch passes away, her surviving daughter and grandchildren begin to discover mysterious and unsettling details of their ancestry and must fight to outwit and outrun the terrible fate they could inherit if they fail. 

The film stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne. 

1) ‘The Wicker Man’

The original version of The Wicker Man from 1973 is one of the most well-acclaimed horror classics of the century. This film has gone on to inspire a plethora of horror movies, including its own remake starring Nicolas Cage. 

A policeman arrives at the island of Summerisle to investigate a report of a missing child. Strangely enough, the townspeople claim that the girl never existed and even stranger is the series of pagan rites and rituals that the policeman witnesses. 

The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, and Britt Ekland.