9 Horror Movies like Midsommar
‘Midsommar,’ released in 2019, is a remarkable folk horror film about a dysfunctional couple spending a Swedish holiday from hell. In Ari Aster’s sophomore feature, Dani (Florence Pugh) and Jack (Jack Raynor) are high school seniors who take a journey to the small Swedish village of Harga to research the local culture and celebrate the town’s midsummer festival as part of their capstone project. However, they quickly learn that the Hargens are cultists who engage in some unsettling rites and that their chances of fleeing the hamlet are low.
For everyone who has ever been in a toxic relationship, the film’s twisted but cathartic conclusion will ring true. However, “Midsommar” is also a film about how we deal with trauma and how unresolved trauma and grief can affect our lives and those we love.
If you enjoyed “Midsommar,” you might also enjoy more horror movies that share some of the same themes. These movies could be about cults, dysfunctional families, loss, trauma, or solid folk horror with a creepy finish. To assist you, we have compiled a list of 9 films similar to “Midsommar” and guaranteed to keep you up at night.
The Wicker Man
Fans of “Midsommar” should check out “The Wicker Man,” one of the films that greatly influenced the creation of that film (1973). It was directed by folk horror pioneer Robin Hardy and was named by The Guardian as the fourth finest horror film of all time.
When a young girl goes missing off the coast of the Hebridean island of Summerisle, Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) is dispatched to investigate. However, when he gets there, the island’s free-spirited, paganistic locals give him the runaround since they’re so wrapped up in getting ready for their annual May Day festival.
By the film’s end, Sergeant Howie encounters the mysterious Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), who explains the terrifying motivations behind the festival. In the same vein as the Harga in “Midsommar,” the people of Summerisle engage in their own strange rituals. As in the Swedish folktale “Midsommar,” outsiders are threatened by a fiery sacrifice.
A Cure For Wellness
Underrated director Gore Verbinski’s “A Cure for Wellness” is similar to “Midsommar” in that a peaceful getaway quickly becomes a terrifying ordeal for its guests.
Dane DeHaan stars as Lockhart, ambitious finance professional his boss assigns to collect a colleague from a mystery high-end wellness retreat in the Swiss Alps. Lockhart becomes a “guest” at the resort after he is involved in a car accident on the mountaintop and is treated by resort physician Heinrich Volmer (Jason Isaacs). There, he meets and hits it off with an oddball named Hanna (Mia Goth) and learns that the spa, which provides treatments like eel and water tank baths, hides a deadly secret and that wellness is the last thing it gives.
There are echoes of classic horror films like “Frankenstein” and “Dracula” in “A Cure for Wellness,” and the film’s lush visuals and deep atmosphere make it well worth watching despite its disappointing box office performance.
Children of the Corn
Similarly to the Swedish film “Midsommar,” “Children of the Corn” (1984) is a folk horror film about a couple who become imprisoned within a dangerously zealous cult in the rural countryside.
The plot of “Children of the Corn,” based on a short novel by Stephen King, centers on Duke (Peter Horton) and Vicky (Linda Hamilton), a couple driving through Nebraska who accidentally kills a young child who runs out into the road from the cornfields. They follow the clues to the deserted hamlet of Gatlin, where they encounter a group of children led by the passionate Isaac (John Franklin) and Malachai (Courtney Gaines), who have set their sights on sacrificing Vicky to their God, ” He Who Walks Behind the Rows.”
Another parallel to “Midsommar” can be seen in one of the Harga’s ceremonies, in which the younger generation casts out the older generation after they reach a particular age. Although “Children of the Maize” did not fare well with reviewers, it has become a cultural touchstone, inspiring a slew of sequels and leaving audiences afraid of corn and children.
The protagonist of Robert Eggers’ “The Witch,” like the protagonist of “Midsommar,” seeks solace in paganism and escapes abusive relationships through violent and extreme ways.
Teenager Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) and her family are exiled from the colony in the 1630s due to their religious beliefs, and they settle in a secluded section of New England. Thomasin and her younger brother were playing at the edge of the woods when one day, the baby brother vanished, perhaps abducted by a witch. Thomasin’s religious parents (Kate Dickie and Ralph Ineson) accuse her of bringing bad luck upon them. The death of their eldest child from a fever only makes things worse, and their devotion to religion deepens.
The cult’s demonic pet goat, Black Philip, encourages Thomasin to “live wonderfully,” much like Dani’s Harga cult family did for her in “Midsommar.”
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The plot of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1974) centers on the dangers of blind obedience to a group’s leader. It is also quite frightening, so including it here was a no-brainer.
Donald Sutherland plays health-code inspector Matthew Bennell in this remake of the 1956 film of the same name. Bennell finds himself in the center of an invasion by pod-like plants that carry alien life forms that imbed themselves within human hosts. At this point, the pod aliens had cloned their hosts’ bodies, abandoned the corpse, and begun to merge into human culture. The world depends on Matthew to try to preserve it, along with his friends and coworker Elizabeth (Brooke Adams), psychiatrist David (Leonard Nimoy), Jack (Jeff Goldblum), and Jack’s wife (Julianne Moore) (Veronica Cartwright).
Is that what happens to everyone? You’ll have to tune in and see. It has a striking conclusion reminiscent of “Midsommar,” in which conformity is depicted as the worst kind of fear.
Like “Midsommar,” “The Descent” (2005) by Neil Marshall involves a harrowing journey that ends in tragedy, a traumatized female protagonist, and awful occurrences that drive her mad.
Sarah (Shauna MacDonald) and her daring girlfriends go on a spelunking expedition a year after she survived a car catastrophe that killed her husband and daughter. Sarah and Juno (Natalie Mendoza), one of Sarah’s best friends, have been taken by Juno to an uncharted cave system that isn’t mentioned in any of the novels. As they go down, the entrance seals shut behind them; if you think being in a small space is unsettling, you haven’t seen anything yet.
It’s no secret that “The Descent” is a terrifying film, and like “Midsommar,” the protagonists’ past traumas continue to influence their present behavior. One of the key characters in “The Descent” goes crazy in both the American and British versions, but the two endings are markedly different.
Inspired by actual events, young hospice nurse Maud (Morfydd Clark) spirals into madness and ultimately finds twisted, fiery salvation in her faith in Rose Glass’ feature debut.
An atheist with a cynical view of death and God, the protagonist of “Saint Maud” (Jennifer Ehle), takes care of a terminally ill dancer (also played by Ehle). Maud, a devout Catholic who converted after experiencing trauma, becomes confident that she alone can save Amanda’s soul and sets out to persuade her to the faith. But when Amanda disapproves of and kicks her out, Maud interprets this as a rejection from God. Believing she has let Him down, she increases her devotion, leading to an unexpected outcome.
Similar to films like “Carrie” and “Taxi Driver,” “Saint Maud” features a shocking climax that is sure to disturb lovers of “Midsommar.”
The 1977 horror film “Suspiria” by Dario Argento is another example of a film in which a lady is held captive by a witchcraft-themed cult.
Suzy (Jessica Harper), an innocent American ballet student, travels to Germany to study at the elite Tanz dancing academy, run by Miss Tanner (Alida Valli) and Madame Blanc (Joan Bennett). Upon her arrival, she finds the atmosphere to be weird and menacing. The school’s founder, Helena Markos, is revealed by Suzy as a witch, and student murders soon follow.
Suspiria, directed by Dario Argento, is a visually spectacular and horrifying big Giallo drenched in blood and suspense and beautifully photographed in a palette of reds, blues, and yellows. Both 1977 original and Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 reimagining, starring Dakota Johnson as Suzy and Tilda Swinton as Madame Blanc, are excellent choices for “Midsommar” fans.
The Blair Witch Project
Talking about films about students who go on ill-fated expeditions to learn about local culture, “The Blair Witch Project” (1999) is another example of the folk horror genre.
Three film students (Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C. Williams) set out to produce a documentary on the Blair Witch, a legendary figure associated with the Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville, Maryland. The video is presented in a “found footage” documentary manner. Locals say that a hermit named Rustin Parr murdered the children, ordering one to stand in a corner while the others were slaughtered to make it look like the witch was responsible for the deaths.
Film students are lost in the woods and through a terrifying ordeal during which the Blair Witch appears to be leaving clues. In a similar vein to “Midsommar,” the friends’ trip finishes with them becoming a part of the next chapter of the lore.
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