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Midsommar’s Ari Aster returns to take Joaquin Phoenix on an even weirder journey in Beau Is Afraid

Getting home to mom’s is its own special kind of horror hell

Zosha Millman (she/her) manages TV coverage at Polygon as TV editor, but will happily write about movies, too. She’s been working as a journalist for more than 10 years.

Anyone who just tried to go home for the holidays or got caught in the Southwest meltdown can recognize that getting home to your mom can be its own epic horror movie. Of course those journeys rarely have the same bizzaro animated vision of Ari Aster (Midsommar, Hereditary), whose new film Beau Is Afraid is centered entirely on it.

Once again released by A24, Beau Is Afraid centers on Beau (Joaquin Phoenix), a paranoid man in the midst of traveling to see his mother. Along the way, he gets hit by a car, captured (maybe), walks several miles (probably), and flits through some nightmarish, animated sequences (almost definitely; this is Aster, after all).

Plus, if the early trailer is any indication, he’ll also have to pass through some post-apocalyptic mayhem, as we see Beau running madly and hopping over people in the street or walking past a woman holding up a sign saying “I will cut my own hands off.” Neat!

Joining Phoenix on his odyssey are Nathan Lane, Amy Ryan, Stephen Mckinley Henderson, Hayley Squires, Denis Ménochet, Kylie Rogers, Armen Nahapetian, Parker Posey, and Patti LuPone. Beau Is Afraid will open in theaters on April 21.

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