Director: Ari Aster
Writer: Ari Aster
Starring: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, and more
Yes…Yes…YES! The year of 2018 is and has been a special year for films. Two films primarily have topped my most anticipated list. Those films are “Avengers: Infinity War” and A24’s “Hereditary”. “Hereditary” has been causing an incredible amount of buzz due to its supposedly terrifying status. As many of my frequent readers know, I am a huge fan of horror and ultimately a huge fan of A24 films. The horror genre in A24’s catalog is filled with critically acclaimed films. This one, in particular, many are anticipating to be welcomed warmly into the collection. However, with a large amount of buzz comes a large amount of suspicious hype. Does “Hereditary” deserve its terrifying label or will this be another over-hyped film that we have seen many others films fall victim to? Oberrated is about to slam the gavel.
“When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.”
**Light spoilers until The Wrap-Up**
“Hereditary” did not fail to deliver. This film is a unique terror machine that not only scares in a typical A24 slow-burn horror fashion, but also goes just a tad deeper with a sprinkle of jump scares for the kiddies. There is even yet another layer of horror in regards to the story and if everything that occurs within the film is actually just a hereditary family trait or if crazy phenomena are actually occurring. Nonetheless, this film was hyped early on for being a terrifying experience and from my eyes, it was nothing less than horrifying.
The performance of Toni Collette is absolutely phenomenal. If I wanted, I could make this whole review singing about her performance. A desperate care-taking mom, a shattered woman, a stubborn ox, an angry and spiteful individual, a human battling mental stability, an adult with a troubled past. Toni Collette’s range is unbelievable and what she pulls off in “Hereditary” is perfect.
Her counterparts seemed to pale in comparison to her. Her husband, Steve (Gabriel Byrne), seems to simply just be there through the duration of the film. Besides trying to be Switzerland when family quarrels occur, he hits no where near as hard as Toni. Alex Wolff as the son, Peter, was both great and bad in respective parts. Wolff plays an absolutely broken son with excellence but he has a few moments where his crying and antics are far from believable. Milly Shapiro playing the daughter Charlie was also great in her scenes in the film but again, no where as strong as Toni.
The film has layers upon layers in regards to trying to decipher what is happening. Early on, the film can be seen as slow. I, for one, especially recognized this and was even scared for a moment that that was going to be the pace of the remainder of the film. This early phase is simply laying the groundwork for the film and may possibly hold key components to understanding the second half of the film. Once the story truly kicks off, buckle in, because it is a wild ride from then on.
“Hereditary” was just about everything I wanted from the film. Early comments flooded social medias saying the film was terrifying, that people needed therapy after the film, that people were haunted for hours afterward, and the list could go on. Now, all these may be a bit extreme, but it is all perspective. Some people are more affected by psychological horror than others. For myself, I feel as if I am a bit stronger willed when it comes to horror films. “Hereditary” was a horror film that had me doing a desperation laugh because I simply was at a loss on how to react to some of the terror sequences happening. I can not recommend this film enough. Although, as always, this will not be a film for everyone. Some may think it is boring, some may think it is not scary. But hey, everyone has an opinion, and here is the Oberrating.