Extended scares: in defense of the two-hour-plus horror movie

In Midsommar, Ari Aster’s divisive follow-up to Hereditary, scares are drawn out for 140 minutes, allowing for a more effectively nightmarish experience

As a movie-watcher develops a more clearly honed sense of their own taste, they may come to understand certain disparaging critical remarks as covert positives. A connoisseur of gore might hear a new release knocked as “gratuitously violent,” for instance, and prick up their ears in the knowledge that they’re in for a treat. Those with formalist leanings, privileging aesthetics over narrative, will take the disses “more like a feature-length music video” or “90-minute perfume commercial” as compliments. Personally, when a horror film gets dinged on the grounds of being “overlong” or “full of bizarre tangents that go nowhere”, I take notice and pay attention. The unwieldy, the inexplicable, the ambitious-to-a-fault – this is my cinematic happy place.

Related: Midsommar director Ari Aster: ‘I often cling to dead things’

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