Get ready for a summer holiday to remember when Midsommar arrives in Cineworld on 5th July.
It’s the second film from writer-director Ari Aster, following the success of his critically acclaimed and outright terrifying Hereditary in 2018. However, his latest project takes us away from the gloomy interior of a grieving family’s home and out into the sunshine of rural Sweden where a young couple (Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor) travel to attend an ancient midsummer festival.
Of course, things aren’t as they seem as events soon take a violent and increasingly sinister turn when the couple find themselves in the hands of a pagan cult with less than pleasant intentions.
In an interview with Vulture, Aster describes the film as "Scandinavian folk horror", "an apocalyptic breakup movie", and "Wizard of Oz for perverts". So we know for sure the titular festival would definitely score low on TripAdvisor if it were real.
This isn’t the first time movie holidaymakers have had their dream getaway turned into a nightmare. Here are five more horror movie holidays that went horribly wrong.
1. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Before he helped revolutionise the slasher genre with A Nightmare on Elm Street in the 1980s, Wes Craven first made his mark in the 1970s with his notorious debut film The Last House on the Left, not to mention our first pick for this list: The Hills Have Eyes.
Reportedly inspired by the Scottish legend of Sawney Bean, this cult classic follows the Carter family as they embark on what they hope will be a pleasant road trip to California where they plan on spending their family holiday. However, after ignoring the advice of a gas station attendant, they crash their car after leaving the main road.
And if being stuck in the middle of the desert wasn’t enough to put a downer on their holiday, the surrounding area is home to a deranged family of cannibals who begin to brutalise and torment the family too. Steering the way for other road trip horrors like Wrong Turn and Wolf Creek, The Hills Have Eyes’ influence on the genre cannot be underestimated.
2. Hostel (2005)
What’s the worst thing that could happen on a backpacking holiday with friends? Having a little too much to drink? Losing your passport? How about being kidnapped and tortured by a secret organisation of wealthy masochists? That’s exactly what happens to the unlucky travellers in the Eli Roth-directed, Quentin Tarantino-produced horror Hostel.
Roth isn’t one to shy away from the gory details in his second feature film which follows two American tourists, Josh (Derek Richardson) and Paxton (Jay Hernandez), and their Icelandic friend Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) travelling across Europe. But when they arrive at a hostel in a rundown area of Slovakia on a stranger’s recommendation, events take a macabre turn.
After Oli disappears, it’s not long until the others find out for themselves what happened to him, and they must find a way to escape before they meet the same bloody fate. Not a film for the fainthearted or squeamish, Hostel is the reason we prefer to stay at hotels.
3. Frozen (2010)
Not to be confused with Disney’s multi-Oscar-winning hit, this horror chiller is anything but a winter wonderland. Written and directed by Adam Green (Hatchet), this Frozen follows a group of friends on a skiing trip who can’t resist going on one more run down the mountain before the resort closes for the week. While they’re still on the ski lift, however, a series of unfortunate accidents results in the trio being stuck on the lift in the midst of an oncoming snowstorm.
Trapped with no way of getting help, the group’s survival skills are pushed to the limit as they desperately attempt to make it to safety. But with the real threat of frostbite, a huge drop to the ground and a pack of hungry wolves roaming below, nothing about their trip is what we’d consider fun.
Next time we go skiing, we’d rather take our chances walking up the slopes than risk getting stuck on the chair.
4. The Shallows (2016)
Ever since Steven Spielberg terrified audiences with the masterfully suspenseful Jaws, sharks have always been a prime candidate for spoiling a beautiful beach getaway.
However, the people of Amity Island had chief Brody (Roy Scheider) to protect them from becoming a shark’s lunch. The Shallows focuses on surfer Nancy (Blake Lively) having to fend for herself when a great white attacks, stranding her on a small rock just out of reach of the shore. All she wanted was a secluded beachside vacation – now she must fight for her life.
The Shallows is a nail-biting, claustrophobic thrill ride that reinforces just how terrifying sharks can be. It’s clever, tense and guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat throughout.
5. The Ritual (2017)
Midsommar isn’t the only film where a trip the Swedish countryside goes horribly wrong. Look no further than recent British horror The Ritual, which sees a group of old university friends embark on a hiking trip across the country’s scenic landscape. But when one of their group injures their leg, they decide to take a shortcut through the nearby forest in a bid to reach the nearest town sooner – not their brightest idea.
During their detour, they witness some disturbing sights in the trees; but it’s not until they spend a night in a rundown cabin where things become seriously creepy. Plagued by nightmares, the men are soon hunted one by a monstrous presence. Saying anymore about the creature or the titular ritual the surviving men are faced with would do a disservice to this indie gem.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.