Ari Aster is not known to tell a simple story simply. In his 2018 directorial debut, Hereditary (2018), he turned a simple family drama about the imperfections of relationships between family members into a psychological horror story about the resurrection of an ancient demon through the possession of a male body. The way I looked at it, the story was basically about how a grandmother loves her grandchildren more than her own child.

Ari Aster’s follow-up, Midsommar (2019), was a simple story that he told in probably the most unique way possible. The main character, Dani Ardor (brilliantly played by Florence Pugh), suffers one of the harshest tragedies anyone can suffer. Her journey of overcoming the trauma is facing the fact that her lover and friends hardly have any empathy for her personal struggle. Ari Aster brilliantly adds a folk horror aspect to her journey of overcoming a terrible emotional trauma by shedding away unsympathetic friends and finding a new family by becoming one with indigenous Scandinavians who still practice human sacrifice to purge away “evil” for a more robust harvest. It’s a slow film, but one trippy experience worth at least one watch.

With his third film, it looks like Ari Aster is going to deliver a magnum opus. Beau is Afraid (2023) will be a nearly three-hour film about one man’s journey to simply visit his mother. Of course, under the creative control of someone like Ari Aster, it isn’t going to be a simple plane or bus ride across the country. It’s about a man who apparently suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety, and his fears of the world are shown literally. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as the title character Beau.

The faces of Beau.

After viewing the trailer for Beau Is Afraid a few times, I’m reminded of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. The movie is described as a “surrealist comedy horror” film, and based on what is shown in the trailer, we’re going to be given one of the most complex journeys of self-discovery moviegoers haven’t seen in a long time. Ari Aster has established himself as one of the most unique directors in the 21st century. Like Stanley Kubrick, he will tell a story that will stay with you for a while because he doesn’t make things simple or boring. This April, Ari Aster will tell an adventure story like no other.