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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Better beware, Aster’s ‘Midsommar’ is coming

One of the creepiest films to open in recent years was "Hereditary," writer-director Ari Aster's 2018 look at family dysfunction and emotional instability — with a few supernatural twists to make things even more grotesquely complex.

Now, Aster is back. His new film "Midsommar," which can be seen in select area theaters beginning tonight, is arousing all sorts of critical reactions. Again acting as both writer and director, Aster tells the story of a group of young Americans attending a summer festival in Sweden that turns out to be just a bit more strange than they expected.

Following are just a few critical comments:

Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times: "Aster's control is startling: With diabolical suggestiveness he keeps widening the chasm between Dani and Christian, placing visual and emotional space between two people whose souls have long since drifted apart."

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: "In place of plot surprises, Aster tries surprising you with repulsive sights, hitting you unexpectedly with some new revolting close-up at regular intervals."

Tomris Laffly, RogerEbert.com: "A terrifically juicy, apocalyptic cinematic sacrament that dances around a fruitless relationship in dizzying circles."

Richard Brody, The New Yorker: "The movie revels in sadistic gore and lurid sex, and its main ideas — anti-ethnographic skepticism and American cultural self-sufficiency — are petty and narrow."

Quite a mix of opinions. If you're up for it, go and make up your own mind.