Hereditary comes with so much hype, with some critics calling it as the stuff nightmares are made of. But as all films that come with this reputation, expectations are set pretty high. So, does it really live up to it?
I’ve been a fan of slow-burn films and in this age of jump-scare horror flicks, this filmmaking style is a rare find in the genre. The progression of creepiness, creeps into your psyche almost glacially, marinating your fear till it’s ripe for the harvest at the point when the film needs it the most. That is probably why the word-of-mouth about this film is about it, being extremely ddisturbing, and it is. +4
The film is also built around unusual and immensely interesting characters, making the film thoroughly engaging. Aside from the lead family characters, Joan (Ann Dowd) is one of the supports to watch out for. Her fascinating portrayal as with the other actors’ performances is worth the watch already. +3
I would consider this film as one of those gems that are certainly full of craft and cinematically superb, making use of well-thought of and highly imaginative camera angles and movements. Plus, cleverly set up long takes. It also brings to the table, a number of fresh new devices and scare tactics that are quite ingenious, some of which, do linger in your soul even after you leave the cinema. +5
Talking about devices, the film makes artful use of miniature dioramas that will become the source of your nightmares. I also loved the use of sleepwalking in the movie, which provides some of the scariest portions of the film. +3
Though helmed rather competently by its writer/director Ari Aster, his feature film debut seems problematic—script- and story-wise. As the plot twists in the final act, a lot of questions are unanswered in my head. I’m not sure if this was deliberately done, but it left me confused at times. -2
What’s with the fascination with decapitated bodies in the film? Well, it is creepy but it’s never fully established why. Somehow it feels like a gimmicky device to just up the scares. -2
The best thing about the movie was Toni Colette’s performance as Annie, the manic mother of two, whose mother—harboring a mysterious past—has just recently passed. Her portrayal is Oscar-worthy in my books, taking the audience along with her, in an emotional rollercoaster throughout the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets a nomination for this one. +5
Her kids in the movie also gave noteworthy performances. Fifteen year old actress Milly Shapiro was perfectly cast in the enigmaticly creepy role as Charlie. Her face is so unusual that it brought so much character into the role. Also, watch out for that haunting sound she makes. Her brother Peter (Alex Wolff) showcased the full range of emotion that his character required, spiraling down into the madness that the film takes the audience to. +4
I couldn’t say the same for the father played by Gabriel Byrne, who was almost just a wallflower, but only until the film’s culmination. Though it seems like that’s how his character was written, I was left wanting more. -2
Now here’s what’s tricky with slow burn thrillers, how slow is just slow enough? Personally, I feel that the pace could have picked up at some parts, coz as an audience, I already get the tone it’s trying to set and at some point halfway through, I just wanted things to speed up and be thrilled already. -2
I watched the film with two fellow filmmaker friends, one of which absolutely loved it while the other had much reservation about it 'cause of the storyline. My sentiments are in between the two and with a total of 16 points, I strongly believe that it is worth your buck—especially if you are a fan of the horror genre. The movie was also produced by the makers of The Witch, following the same theme and feelz. (More arthouse than horror, really.)
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Photos by PalmStar Media