Two films in, and it’s safe to declare writer-director Ari Aster a master of horror. His Midsommar, the sophomore effort following his masterpiece Hereditary, is two and a half hours of nerve-fraying terror staged mostly in broad daylight, and it is a thing of demented beauty. Dani (dynamite Florence Pugh) and Christian (excellent Jack Reynor) are having relationship issues. Dani is super dependent on Christian during a major time of need, as her sister is constantly bombarding her with dark mood swing modern correspondence (translation: toxic emails). Then, tragedy strikes Dani’s family, and it’s time for Christian to step up for his part of this committed relationship. His solution? Take Dani along on what was supposed to be a bro trip to Sweden for a traditional family summer festival. He sort of asks her to go, she sort of says yes, and, before you know it, Dani is on a plane to Sweden with Christian and his friends. Shortly after arrival, Dani and friends ingest hallucinogenic mushrooms. The weirdness kicks in immediately, and the movie comes off as a really bad trip. Pugh, so good in this year’s Fighting with My Family, makes a grand statement with this movie. She’s an acting force that puts her in the upper echelon. She throws everything out on the table, and it all pays off in a performance that will surely be one of the year’s most memorable. One of the pleasures of Aster’s latest is that it’s obvious where things are going. It’s a mystery that puts a ton of clues right in front of your face in vividly visible fashion as the sun shines brightly. While the movie is a deliberately paced slow burn, it’s nearly two and a half hours pass by pretty quickly. Aster never loses the sense of dread, so while you could call his movie predictable in some ways, it’s not even close to being a letdown. It’s a movie that constantly delivers on the dread it promises in every frame.