“Midsommar” (A24)

By Catholic News Service

All dressed up as slow-moving psychological horror, writer-director Ari Aster’s film is, in fact, an exercise in crude exploitation.

Perpetually on the verge of breaking up, a couple of university students (Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor) seek to ease the tension by joining his graduate-school friends (William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter and Vilhelm Blomgren) on a visit to a Swedish commune that practices an ancient folk religion. Terror, sex and gore ensue, though they carry little shock value given the predictability of it all. The result is just another sensationalist trip into the realm of savagery, with no redeeming features.

Warped moral values, bloody violence, human sacrifice, strong sexual content, including aberrant behavior, an explicit encounter and full male and female nudity, drug use, a few profanities, pervasive rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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