‘Midsommar’: Destined to Be Controversial, Because the Real Horror Is Off-Screen (Column)

With just two movies, the 31-year-old writer-director Ari Aster has carved out a special place for himself.

He’s making luxuriously dread-infused art horror films for the megaplex.

It’s not necessarily a unique place: Jordan Peele got there first — and it’s telling that in the work of both filmmakers, you can feel the thread of ’60s and ’70s horror running through a gripping new consciousness.

Yet Aster, in last year’s domestic ghost-story shocker “Hereditary,” and in his new movie, the epic pastoral Swedish commune creep-out “Midsommar,” has created a niche that’s destined to be controversial, because he’s throwing mainstream audiences curveballs right and left.“Hereditary” was the rare horror film that had an ambition as deep, wide, and complexly disturbing as that of any independent feature.

In “Midsommar,” Aster’s reach is even bolder — he has made a sun-dappled socio-pagan cult nightmare that connects to

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