In less than two years, director Ari Aster went from having an inexistent film career to identifying himself as one of the most iconic horror film creators of the 21st-century. Below, Gary DeWaard discusses Aster’s nearly-overnight rise to fame between the release of his two A24 produced films Hereditary and Midsommar.
Gary DeWaard is a film fanatic who spends his free time at theaters, streaming films at home, reading scripts, analyzing movies and providing in-depth reviews of trending Hollywood topics. Having recently viewed director Ari Aster’s latest film Midsommar, he helps readers understand how the director achieved his fame and why many consider him such a standout film creator.
“Ari Aster is just into his 30s and already he’s made a major name for himself in Hollywood and has risen to the very top of his genre,” says Gary DeWaard. “In just two films, he’s presented audiences with a pair of the most nuanced and truly horrifying stories told in the past two decades.”
Hereditary is Aster’s directorial debut and premiered in 2018 as a supernatural psychological horror drama that he also wrote the script for. It stars Toni Collette as an artist recently haunted after the death of her mother who slowly unveils a sinister cult scheme with her family at its center. The film also stars Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne who each play significant parts in what has been called the most horrifying series of events since The Exorcist.
Immediately, the film was lauded for its beautiful camera shots, its eerie cinematography, it’s an intricate story and horrific true-to-life depiction of a family tragedy.
“Before Hereditary, Aster had only created and produced a handful of short films,” says Gary DeWaard. “All his work centers on drama––but in highly distinctive and terrifying ways. This first film showed the world what he was capable of and will certainly go down in history as one of the great horror classics.”
Quickly following up his debut film, Aster released Midsommar with A24 this past summer to varying reviews. The most standout detail of this film, separating it starkly from Hereditary, is the bright, dizzying cinematography which has never been featured so prominently in a horror film before.
The story follows a couple with a troubled relationship who are accompanying friends on a trip to a fabled Swedish midsummer festival. The bright atmosphere and beautiful setting juxtapose the evil going on within the ring of locals preying slowly on the visitors.
“Never before have we seen such bright colors in a horror film, and they provide such a stark contrast to the intense drama on screen,” says Gary DeWaard. “Aster has reinvented his own genre after first proving his worth in more traditional horror storytelling.”
Hereditary remains A24’s top earner at the box office, and with Midsommar still in theaters, Gary DeWaard hopes the director will get all the support from horror and non-horror theater-goers that he deserves.