Hereditary is a Haunting Experience
November 14, 2018
To be perfectly honest, I’m not fully sure where to start with this review.
Hereditary is one of the craziest movies I’ve ever seen. From beginning to end, Hereditary had me either on the edge of my seat, or hiding from the terrifying things on the screen before me.
Hereditary is an absolute thrill from the very beginning with its chilling and haunting soundtrack creeping around a dark story and even darker atmosphere.
The film opens as the Graham family is preparing for the funeral of their estranged grandmother, (for whom, oddly enough, I couldn’t find an actress credit). At the center of the story is Annie Graham (Toni Collette), a struggling artist whose loss of her mother has left her unfazed, yet strangely relieved. Her caring husband, Steve (Gabriel Byrne) works to keep the family together through the stress of loss and parenting teens. Their son, Peter (Alex Wolff), is focused on the fun and angst of being a teenager. In contrast, their daughter (and the grandmother’s favorite), Charlie (Milly Shapiro), is distant from her family, preferring to make Frankenstein’s monster-esque toys which she keeps in her treehouse outside. Slowly, the family’s minds begin to unravel due to tragedy after tragedy, revealing the true dark nature of the past that haunts the Graham family.
There are a lot of horror movies out there that have an R rating, but the vast majority just skirt the line between PG-13 and R. Hereditary is most definitely not one of these. This movie is packed full of gore and relies much less on jump scares and more on carnage to terrify audiences.What jumpscares it does have are executed very well and don’t lose their fear and intensity quickly.
There are very few movies that I’ve wanted to take a break from and come back to, but I really needed it with Hereditary. Luckily, the service I used to watch it decided to crash right after one of the most intense scenes in the first half of the film.
Something I absolutely loved about this movie was its cinematography. Most every scene in the Graham’s house is shot from right outside the room, like you are peering into the room of a doll house. This indirectly reveals the powerlessness of the family as they descend into madness.
I have very few negative things to say about this movie other than a little sudden and surprising nudity. Collette’s performance is astounding. Having her flawed and rather unlikeable character be the focal point gives much deeper insight into the insanity and darkness rooted into the family. Evil or misunderstood characters can have some of the most profound impacts on stories, and Annie is no different. Her actions are rational, or at least, so they seem to her.
Hereditary is the beginning of a new age of horror that strives to move beyond the cliche of jump scares in favor of developing a decent plot. It strives to make a name for itself–and ultimately succeeds–due to its uniqueness and ability to push the limits of the horror genre.
I give Hereditary an extremely rare 9 out of 10 rituals for its willingness to flaunt boundaries, its striking visuals and chilling soundtrack, and its powerful themes of horror.