By Clark Collis
July 05, 2019 at 01:04 PM EDT
07/03/19
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WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the film Midsommar.

In the just-released horror film Midsommar, Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor play a young American couple named Dani and Christian who, despite the dysfunctional nature of their relationship, embark on a trip to a remote Swedish commune, with three friends.

The movie is a very personal one for filmmaker Ari Aster, as he revealed at a pre-release screening in New York.

“Well, about four years ago, I was brought a broad, folk-horror concept, by a Swedish production company, named B-Reel,” said Aster, who also directed last year’s Hereditary, at a recent screening of Midsommar in New York. “They pitched me an Americans-going-to-Sweden-and-then-getting-killed-off concept, and I, at first, didn’t really see a way into that, and it didn’t feel like me. But then, I was also, at the time, going through a break-up which was really fresh, and I saw a way of marrying the break-up movie with the folk-horror subgenre, and then kind of making like this big operatic break-up movie. And so, from there, it became very personal.”

Midsommar is as much about the metaphorical journey its protagonists take once they reach the commune as it is the film’s end. But the movie’s conclusion is unforgettable as Dani determines that the unfaithful Christian be offered up as a human sacrifice, which results in him being burned to death while trapped in the body of a disemboweled bear.

Aster tells EW that he always planned on ending the film in this gruesome fashion.

“Yes, in fact, that was why I wanted to write this.” says the director. “For me, the film was always a perverse wish fulfillment, a fantasy that was playing with a kind of catharsis that I hope people will have to wrestle with. I hope it will also have people cheering and then maybe hopefully later on contending with that a little bit more.”

To be clear, does Aster hope cinemagoers will feel guilty about relishing the fate of Reynor’s Christian, who, while not the best boyfriend in the world, is far from being the worst person who ever lived?

“Maybe,” says the director. “I say, ‘F— it, just enjoy it. But, there should be an aftertaste to the uplift, I guess.”

Watch the trailer for Midsommar above.

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