Sound in Midsommar (Extra Credit)

I recently watched Midsommar, an A24 film directed by Ari Aster, for the first time. I have been longing to see this movie for a long time and I am very happy that I decided to watch it. Before watching this film, I did not really know what I was getting myself into. I heard it was a relatively scary movie, but it wasn’t scary in the way I thought it would be. When someone mentions a movie as a “horror” movie, you expect to see many jump scares and gore but that wasn’t the case here. What made this movie “scary” was the suspenseful and creepy environment the viewer was let into and this was due to the sound.

In order to discuss the mastery of sound in this film, I must give credit to the sound editor Gene Park. Park was able to make the viewer feel the emotional tension and discomfort through sound. As I was watching this film, the main sonic feature that I noticed was the consistent use of silence. In an interview, Gene Park explains that they used this silence to create a state of confusion for the viewer as well as to illustrate the mental state of Dani when she is undergoing a traumatic sequence. An example of this is when Dani begins to cry at the festival and the other women in the village begin to cry with her. The beginning of this sequence’s sound completely shuts out any background noise and emphasizes her crying. As the sequence progresses, “everything goes weird, muted out, muddy sounding”, illustrating the mental clouds that are storming in Dani’s brain. When the other women join her, the only sound that is heard is the voices of crying, creating a very uncomfortable environment for the viewer.

Throughout the whole film, there are many other instances where the sound creates this weird environment for the viewer. I highly recommend to watch this film if you haven’t seen it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *