15 Scariest Midsommar Scenes We Can't Stop Thinking About (2023)

This article contains discussions of drug use and suicide.

Ari Aster's Midsommar is a polarizing horror movie that left a lasting impression on both those who disliked it and those who can't stop raving about it. The occult theme is very reminiscent of The Wicker Man, and the atmosphere captures a lot of the same terror from Aster's previous film Hereditary. Nearly all of the film takes place in the broad daylight, and the cinematography is vibrant and stunning at all times, which also helps to make the experience extremely unsettling—especially when the scenes feature some serious nightmare material that audiences aren't used to seeing so brightly lit.

Some scenes will probably linger with fans of the movie forever. From psychological horror lingering in the background as Dani processes her trauma to explicit gore and body horror, Midsommar is a movie that makes a lasting impression.

The Maypole Dance

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In order to be coronated as the May Queen, Dani must outlast all of the other girls in a strange dancing ritual. While it's shot beautifully and meant to convey that Dani is growing closer to the other women in the group, its overbearingly sinister undertones affirm that nothing is as it seems.


The thudding percussion and shrieking strings that play over the scene keep viewers on edge, and the implication that Dani is essentially becoming one of the Hårga cult is, to say the least, disturbing. Plus, the "language" the girls speak toward the end of the dance isn't Swedish—it's made-up gibberish, which furthers the idea that something inexplicable and sinister is transpiring.

(Video) Things You Only Notice The Second Time You Watch Midsommar

Sacrificing The Elders

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One of the first things that we see Hårga do is gather around a huge cliff to witness two elders end their lives. It's a custom of theirs; rather than let themselves become a burden to the community, the elders throw themselves off the cliff as a sacrifice. The scene of the woman's skull hitting the rock was shockingly explicit, burning itself in fans' memories. The movie isn't just one of the most visually stunning horror movies of the 21st century so far, it's also surprisingly gory. Worse yet is the man's fall to his death. He misses the rock and breaks his leg horribly in the process, being finished off with a blow from a huge hammer. All the while, the tourists are screaming and freaking out, which the people of the cult found extremely offensive.

Dani's Parents

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The deaths of Dani's parents in the first scene set a foreboding tone for the film. Violins wail like sirens as viewers squint into the darkness in an attempt to suss out what's going on. The subsequent shot of first responders zipping Dani's mother and father into body bags is more than a little morose, but the scene may holden an even deeper meaning. Though director Ari Aster said that he doesn't agree with the theory in a Huffington Post article, some fans theorize that the flowers surrounding the picture of Dani on her mother's nightstand indicates that Pelle may have somehow been involved in their deaths.

Josh's Leg Sticking Out Of A Garden Plot

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Even though we all knew that Josh died after disrespecting the cult's rules, it was still shocking to see his leg sticking out of a garden plot after Christian is done with Maja. We see the scene from Christian's eyes while he is still under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

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He's all alone in a cult where things have obviously gone out of control while he's tripping and he sees clear proof that his friend has been murdered. Christian was both confused and mortified, as was the audience.

Ruben's Story

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Ruben is introduced as an oracle to the tourists. What is unsettling about it is that they are clearly using the poor boy as a means to further mystify and confuse the newcomers. His involvement in their rituals does not make him seem like much of a willing participant. Fans never find out much about him, but his general demeanor makes him seem like a prisoner within the cult, forced to bear witness to horrors much like the paralyzed Christian is at the end.

(Video) MIDSOMMAR: Every Creepy Little Detail Hidden In The Movie

Dani's Trauma

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The beginning of the movie establishes a grim tone and subtly affects what transpires at the festival in Sweden. Dani's sister died by suicide and killed both of their parents in the process. The event traumatized Dani and showed just how little Christian actually cares about her. Seeing Dani cry on his lap as he looks off, clearly thinking of himself, was an unbearable moment. Just like Hereditary, Midsommar is a female-led horror movie. On the surface, it's a story about a mysterious cult, but it's also a story about trauma processing and personal transformation, with Dani needing to overcome her attachment to the obviously unsupportive Christian.

Dani Sees Her Sister Appear Behind Her

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This happens after Dani is, for the first of many times in the movie, coerced into taking psychedelic drugs, this time by the people who she relies on as her only friends in a very strange situation—which only serves to make it all the more unsettling. With the tourists skirting on the edge of a bad trip, Dani is pushed over the edge by the mention of family, sending her on a clearly painful journey into her own trauma as she briskly walks away trying to find some quiet in the overwhelming situation. Alone in a room, she suddenly sees her sister behind her in the mirror, a classic horror shot that pushes Dani even further and completely overwhelms her emotionally. Pugh's performance is magnificent here, but it's difficult to watch due to its authenticity.

Dani's Nightmare

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Still trying to make the best of things, Dani sleeps at the main commune despite her clearly fragile emotional state that her supposed friends continue to ignore. The audience then sees her awaken in the night to go outside just in time to see the rest of her group driving off without her, smiling and waving as they leave her alone in terrifying uncertainty. As Dani attempts to scream for them to come back, black exhaust fumes billow from her mouth in reference to her sister's death. This is another classic horror trope that's used very effectively to show Dani's psychological state, with her feelings of abandonment being unavoidably–and painfully–relatable.

Ritual Drowning

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(Video) Midsommar (2019) Ending Scene [4K ULTRA HD]

The Midsommar director's cut includes a scene that depicts the cultist nearly drowning a young member of their ranks as a sacrifice. Punctuated by a gruesome quiet, the audience is forced to watch as weights are tied to a young teen's body and they are nearly thrown into a lake before Dani and other observers speak up. While it was likely cut because it reiterates the same story beats seen in other sacrifice scenes, this one is particularly affecting because it drastically furthers the rift between Christian and Dani and it confirms the horrible fate met by Connie.

Simon Turned Into A Blood Eagle

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Most of Midsommar's characters faced a horrible death, but there's no doubt who probably suffered the most in the process. It was Simon, the only guy who never actually offended the cult the way Mark or Josh did. Not only was he tortured endlessly, but he was also still alive when Christian found him. As if seeing him hanging from the ceiling with no eyes and his lungs on his back wasn't bad enough, it's the moment that the audience saw that the lungs were still moving that sent chills down everyone's spines. Was Christian hallucinating, or was he actually still alive?

Christian Is Burned Alive While Paralyzed

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The ending of Midsommar is terrifying and cathartic both at the same time. As the May Queen, Dani got to choose who is going to be sacrificed in a fire in the end. Since he continuously let her down, she decided that her boyfriend Christian should die.

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The decision alone isn't the scariest part, though. Christian is paralyzed, so all the while he was being set up to be burned alive in a bear costume, he couldn't do anything but move his eyes around. Another man who was chosen to be sacrificed sat there waiting for the flames to engulf him. He thought that they had given him a tranquilizer so he won't be able to feel a thing. That turned out to be a lie; the man died screaming, while Christian could do nothing but watch.

Mark Is Skinned

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(Video) Midsommar Deleted Scene (Director's Cut)

After relieving himself on the sacred tree, Mark is lured away and skinned off-screen. When Josh sneaks out at night to get pictures of the cult's holy book, Ulf appears, wearing Mark's face. The scene makes the stomach turn because it is subtle at first; it takes a moment to see what's really going on and that it's not actually Mark. The audience can then surmise that the poor fool was skinned, a tradition Pelle told them all about. Afterward, Josh is bludgeoned and taken away. It seems as if Mark or Josh had their deaths coming since they both broke some serious rules. In reality, they would have ended up in that fire regardless of how they behaved, which makes the movie even scarier.

The Copulation Ritual

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Christian was essentially lured into a mating ritual with Maja from the get-go. Even though he had that meeting in which he technically gave his consent, things typically didn't go well when anyone tried defying the cult. Christian was brought into a big room, filled with nude women who vocalized alongside Maja as the couple had sex. The scene was one of the most unpleasant to watch as it went on and on and kept the focus on Christian's confusion.

Dani's Breakdown

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After Dani was crowned the May Queen and she saw that Christian cheated on her with Maja, she fell apart completely. She was carrying a lot of grief with her; not only was she mourning the death of her family, but she was also processing everything that has transpired at the festival. For the first time, she cries and screams out loud instead of hiding her pain. The group of girls who are with her mirrors her emotions. In that way, Dani can finally start processing her feelings. It's a cleansing and visceral scene, making Florence Pugh one of the best and most underrated scream queens ever. But, Dani's absorption into what is clearly at this point a horrific death cult is also very chilling.

Inside The Temple

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At the end of the movie, Hårga burns down the temple along with nine sacrificed people. We get to see all the familiar faces again, mutilated by their horrible deaths. This nightmare material includes the limbless elderly couple, Josh stuffed with paper, Mark's face on a dummy, Christian in a bear costume, Connie who is bloated from drowning, and two Hårga members: Ingemar, who brought the couple from London, and Ulf, the young man who was upset with Mark and later on murdered Josh. It's unsettling to think that being sacrificed is an honor among the Hårga people. Those who brought fresh blood to the festival happily volunteered to burn to death. Pelle was excused since he brought the new May Queen with him. It's an ending that's hard to forget.

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