You might not be ready for "Midsommar," a beautiful living nightmare of a movie and the work of a young filmmaker who's proving to have a unique vision. 
 
Is it scary? Well, here's the thing: any schlockmeister can make a jump-out-and-scare you movie, but writer and director Ari Aster is a true craftsman who can slowly build dread and tension to a stomach-turning fever pitch with images sure to revisit you. 
 
Florence Pugh stars as a grieving woman who goes to Sweden for a summer vacation with her jerky boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his buddies to visit a colony for a festival. Despite appearances, we know from watching movies something must be amiss - that this is clearly a cult - but the temperature gets turned up so gradually that it's too late to escape when it comes to a boil.
 
 
Aster gives us so much to see on the screen (just keep an eye on the artwork in the background for clues) and his script is fantastic - rich in characterization to make us care and fascinating in its examination of traditions, ceremony, ritual and the occult. It's a deeply unnerving picture. 
 
With "Midsommer," Aster proves his first movie, "Hereditary," was no fluke. He appears to be the real deal.
 
EPPLER'S RATING: * * * * 1/2
 

RATING SCALE

* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful - The worst, an insult to movies