Midsommar is one of the best horror movies we’ve had in a long time. Not only because the entire storyline isn’t done to death, but because the different plots fill us with dread from all directions. There’s the obvious creep factor of being in a very remote part of rural Sweden, the unfamiliar culture, not speaking the language and of course the biggest dread builder of all — Christian’s aggressive apathy for his girlfriend Dani who is dealing with the trauma of being suddenly orphaned after her mentally ill sister murdered their parents before killing herself.
We’ve already discussed the quiet terror of Dani’s deteriorating self-esteem and loneliness. But we haven’t talked about how one of the most gruesome scenes in the movie is also the creepiest, and not just for the reason most people think.
Simon and Connie are two travelers from London who Dani and her group meets when they first arrive at the commune in Sweden. They are a couple who decides to leave after witnessing the ättestupa, a traditional ceremony where members of the commune who have reached the age of 72 commit suicide by leaping off a cliff. One of the members attempts suicide but survives the fall, he is then killed by another member of the commune with a large mallett while the crowd observes.
They couple separates to pack and when Connie cannot find Simon, an elder in the commune tells her Simon has already left. Connie leaves on her own and her fate is not revealed until the final scene when we can count her among the nine people being sacrificed. She is wearing the same traditional outfit as a boy in an earlier scene (included only in the director’s cut) who is almost drowned in a ritual, so we can assume Connie was later drowned in his place. Here is the scene that explains the drowning ritual:
And here is Connie wearing the same costume at the end:
It’s hard to believe that Simon met an even worse fate.
High on hallucinogenics and fresh from a weird sex ritual, Christian stumbles into a shed where Simon is in the middle of blood eagle torture. (The scene with Christian and Simon starts at 2:28).
If you’re like me, you assumed Simon was deceased in this scene. However, if you are familiar with the type of torture depicted, you know that it is performed while the victim is still alive. Here’s how Wiki describes the method: “the victims (in both cases members of royal families) were placed in a prone position, their ribs severed from the spine with a sharp tool, and their lungs pulled through the opening to create a pair of ‘wings’.”
In the scene, you can also see Simon’s lungs slightly inflate, indicating that he is very much still alive. This is confirmed by the Midsommar script, which states that Simon is breathing.
Time for a rewatch with fresh eyes.