Movies - TV
The Terrifying Florence Pugh Scene That Still Gives Us Nightmares
Spoiler Warning!
This story contains spoilers for "Midsommar."
One scene, more than any other, propels "Midsommar" into straight horror territory. The scene takes place on the group's second day among the Hårga, the cult-like clan who are being observed for an anthropology project.
Dani, who is recovering from a bad drug trip, snaps to attention when she watches an old woman step off a ledge, launching herself to a very public and gory death. From that moment on, a sequence is shot from the perspective of Dani's dazed shock.
The scene only gets more nightmarish when an elderly man jumps, and his choking gasps cut through the haze of Dani's shock as he lays with one leg twisted and demolished beneath him. Astonishingly, a group of figures puts the man out of his misery by bludgeoning him with a cudgel in a slow, ceremonial fashion.
Plenty of horror scenes are scary in a way that doesn't linger, but this moment from "Midsommar" has stuck with audiences years later thanks to its perfectly destabilizing design as well as Florence Pugh's shell-shocked performance. As frightening as the stomach-churning imagery may be, it works largely because of Pugh's performance.
By putting audiences through the wringer with this grotesque scene, horror master-in-the-making Ari Aster forces "Midsommar" viewers to see the world through Dani's eyes. Viewers are forced to leave the movie with the feeling of having witnessed a disaster unfolding in slow motion, unable to move or stop it, just like Dani at the bottom of the cliffs.