Horror unfolds in broad daylight.
Ari Aster “possesses an almost supernatural command of dread,” said A.A. Dowd in AVClub.com. The “diabolically gifted” writer-director behind last summer’s harrowing Hereditary has returned with a new horror movie about a couple who travel to Sweden to take part in a midsummer ritual that happens once every 90 years. For Florence Pugh’s Dani, Jack Reynor’s Christian, and several of Christian’s buddies, the perpetually sunlit countryside turns nightmarish soon after they consume mushrooms offered by smiling cultists. “Only the most committed Aster-pologists are likely to enjoy Midsommar at its fullest,” said Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post, because soon the film “starts to collapse in on itself.” Often, its sole purpose seems to be manifesting Aster’s “elaborately sadistic” visions. He remains “more a master stylist and mood setter than a storyteller,” said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly. But his actors hold your attention, and Midsommar delivers “skin-prickling pleasures” that can’t be explained. ■