Reviewing Cult Horror Movies: Hereditary and Midsommar


Sophia Robertson, Editor-in-Chief

If you are a horror movie enthusiast, it’s likely that you have heard of Hereditary (2018) or Midsommar (2019), two films of the horror genre that are based on cult activity. Provided is a brief synopsis of Hereditary: After the matriarch of a family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel her haunting secrets. These secrets cause mysterious violence and trouble within the family who tries to escape their disturbing fate. In Midsommar, a group of friends travels to Sweden for the midsummer festival, but this retreat quickly takes a turn as the friends realize the festival is part of a pagan cult.

Please note that there are some minor spoilers in the following paragraphs. Additionally, Hereditary and Midsommar are rated R due to various factors such as disturbing images and graphic nudity. Both films involve elements of horror, but not typical elements like jumpscares and ghosts. Instead, the films derive fear from the unnatural actions of humans. For example, in Hereditary one of the characters, under the power of a sinister spirit, breaks his nose after smashing his head on the table in the middle of class. His face begins to twitch unnaturally, creating elements of fear due to the unexpected violence and the implication of a menacing spirit overpowering the character. Midsommar has similar elements. For example, there are several dramatic suicides in the beginning of the film as a result of the cultists’ devotion to their cause. The members of the cult are so faithful to their cause that they sacrifice themselves, adding surprise and violence to the movie.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Midsommar got an 83% rating and a 7.1/10 on IMDb. Hereditary received slightly better reviews with an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.3/10 on IMDb. Looking at both films subjectively, I preferred Hereditary much more than Midsommar. Compared to Midsommar, Hereditary was scarier and had exceptional cinematography; many of the camera shots effectively added to the chilling atmosphere. Hereditary’s budget was ten million dollars, which is very close to Midsommar’s nine million dollar budget. Even though their budgets were similar, most elements of Hereditary were superior to Midsommar with the writing and the acting being the most notable features. On the contrary, Midsommar’s setting, an isolated commune in rural Sweden, is very creative, particularly when compared to the uninspired, gloomy house that is the setting for most of Hereditary

Both films are respected in the horror genre, but Hereditary was arguably the scarier and more entertaining movie. While Midsommar was somewhat repetitive, Hereditary had many unexpected twists and turns.


Photo Credits: Daily Express