Being a comparatively recent thriller, “Midsommar” has managed to take both critics and viewers by storm with its unique premise and stunning cinematography. The film is filled with scenes that can be used as an example of stellar filmmaking. However, one of the scenes stands out particularly strongly, offering the viewer an unusual perspective and setting the tone for the remainder of the film. Namely, the shot in which a group of young women dances while the leader is watching, which is shot from an over-the-shoulder perspective, creates a mesmerizing effect due to the sense of an imminent threat that it creates with very few tools.
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The over-the-shoulder shot, which is typically used to tilt the orientation of the viewer and to help them develop an intuitive idea of how to navigate the newly represented world, changes its meaning in “Midsommar” slightly. Although it is seemingly used to give the viewer a better chance at exploring the environment of the film, it also obscures their view, preventing them from encompassing the entire picture. As a result, a very unsettling feeling is established, preparing the audience for the further developments of the plot.
By building the tension and anticipation with the bare minimum of visual and musical tools, the scene in which an older woman observes a group of young ones practicing their dancing leaves an immediate effect of danger lurking in the vicinity. Thus, the atmosphere of the movie is rendered flawlessly, allowing the viewer to submerge into the mysterious environment of the film. By incorporating an over-the-shoulder perspective, the director has built the sense of a looming threat, which has helped to introduce the elements of a thriller into the movie from an early stage.