And I mean this in the best way possible. The spectrum of emotions you go through range from sheer terror to complete hopelessness and sorrow. The movie picks at the human psyche in all the right ways. It's both hard to watch and impossible to look away. Hands down the best horror films I've ever seen, perhaps one of the best films in general.
In many ways, Hereditary is the horror movie I've been restlessly waiting to see for so many years. Despite my avid fandom for the genre, I really feel that modern horror has lost its grasp on how to make a film that's truly unsettling in the way the great classic horror films are. A modern wide-release horror film is often nothing more than a conveyor belt of jump scares strung together with a derivative story which exists purely as a vehicle to deliver those jump scares. They're more carnival rides than they are films, and audiences have been conditioned to view and judge them through that lens. The modern horror fan goes to their local theater and parts with their money on the expectation that their selected horror film will "deliver the goods", so to speak: startle them a sufficient number of times (scaling appropriately with the film's runtime, of course) and give them the money shots (blood, gore, graphic murders, well-lit and up-close views of the applicable CGI monster etc.) If a horror movie fails to deliver those goods, it's scoffed at and falls into the "worst film I've ever seen" category. I put that in quotes because a disgruntled filmgoer behind me broadcasted those exact words across the theater as the credits for this film rolled. He really wanted us to know his thoughts.Like similarly fantastic and crowd-displeasing horror films of the past few years, The Witch and It Comes At Night, Hereditary is a film that largely deals in atmosphere and emotional horror. The Shining, which happens to be my favorite horror film, is a clear touchstone and I would go as far as saying that this is the first modern horror film I've seen that genuinely captures a similar tone and ethos. Much like that film, it delivers its horror through an intensifying sense of unease and dread that becomes nearly suffocating by its conclusion. Rather than startling you with cheap scares, it offers haunting and upsetting images which are often delivered without any of those overused sonic jolts. Perhaps most importantly, it anchors everything in an emotional core with nuanced characters who experience relatable family struggles and grief. And that is absolutely critical to what makes the movie effective and resonant: it works on a metaphorical level, using the supernatural story as a vehicle to explore the very real way in which a family can be absolutely ravaged by tragedy, and furthermore how trauma and mental illness are passed through the generations. I'd be remiss not to mention that Toni Collette gives a mesmerizing performance in this film that is absolutely unhinged and truly difficult to stomach at times.For all that praise and as excellent as I think it is, Hereditary isn't quite a masterpiece. Despite the fact that I was very much invested and riveted throughout the length of the film, there were some detectable pacing issues. I feel conflicted in saying that because I'm very much a fan of the slow-burn horror style which benefits from a deliberate pace, but I did get the occasional nagging sense that things could've been tightened up just a tad without losing the effect. Some of the scares in the film, often the more "traditional" horror moments, also struck slightly the wrong note with me on a first viewing and were just a hair too campy or on-the-nose given how visionary and restrained the majority of the film is. And in its ending few minutes, the film really shows its full hand when a bit more ambiguity may have served it better.The p
This is a bit of an old fashioned horror movie. Something that plays as a dramatic movie first and then slowly becomes something else. Like "Rosemary" or "Exorcist" but without the high profile clout of those directors. This is two hours of an exploration of family tragedy and grief through characters struggling to cope.To say much of this film is to ruin it, so lashing praise onto certain aspects of it is the best one can do. Not to say this is a film with a big twist, it isn't. Toni Collette is fantastic as is no surprise at this point in her career. All the performances carry their own, including one I was unsure of at first but grew on me throughout -- Alex Wolff. The cinematography, rhythms and pacing, sense of place and space, and sound design are all superb and work in conjunction to create atmosphere and dread -- like a pit in your stomach that continues to grow and grow throughout.It turns into a genuine nightmare that absolutely worked for me. See it blind, see it as a movie first and foremost (not as a horror show with jump scares), but just see it.
Loved this movie, it wasn't hard to figure out once it peaked .. but getting there was great. I see people don't like this film and I can understand that. But it reminded me of Rosemary's Baby and that's saying a lot. As the story unfolds you see how truly horrifying this persons (Toni Collette) life has been.. the performances are spot on. This movie really ramps up in the last twenty minutes.. it's not fir everyone but it creeped me out and I watch a lot of horror.
Give it a shot .. it's well worth it.
I rarely write reviews for films on here with the exception of two cases: when a movie is really bad or when a movie needs defending from a vocal minority that trash it. First, I'll review the film like I would any other and then I'm going to try and reason why audiences are reacting negatively to the film. I'm not sure if Hereditary is the greatest horror film ever but I certainly felt like I was watching my generation's Exorcist or Rosemary's Baby. The movie borrows heavily from those two films right down to the final scene. Despite this, it feels new and dangerous. I had no idea how the movie was going to play out which is a criticism I have with a lot modern horror/thriller movies. This in large part has to do with the marketing campaign but more on that later. I feel the term slow burn has a negative connotation associated with it and prefer to call this movie tense. It doesn't really on jump scares that plague a lot of modern horror and chooses tension and imagery to scare the audience with slow camera panning and fantastic cinematography, a nervous score, and great performances. Toni Collette gives and incredible performance as a manic mother who is mourning the loss of a parent. The supporting cast is fantastic as well and they all have a time to shine at some point in the movie. The movie is also challenging in its themes with relationships between parents and their children always in the forefront. The human drama of this movie far exceeded my expectations and is worthy viewing in its own right. To try and explain why audiences are trashing the film through some mediums (not as much on IMDb, see CinemaScore, Rotten Tomatoes for example) I think it is important to understand that we live in an impatient culture. Many horror classics of the past like the two I mention earlier weren't fast paced and instead lingered on images and favored slow paced horror. I think the modern horror audience can get restless when presented with a movie like this. I don't think Rosemary's Baby or the Exorcist would review very well with broad audiences if they were released today. Secondly, I think the film has succeeded in making people uncomfortable by questioning parent's feelings for their children and how they are displayed. This movie is complex and has a lot to say. Comparing this film to another fantastic horror movie from this year, A Quiet Place, offers a great juxtaposition of this idea. One is very simple in it's premise that quickly gets to the scares while the other takes it's time to build to a climax that may or may not be worth the wait depending on the viewer. Overall, Hereditary offers plenty of horrific imagery and supernatural scares that work as a deeper examination of familial relationships rather than being a string a horror movie cliches.9/10 - excellent
Hereditary is a refreshing example of a studio subverting expectations, as the trailer is purposely misleading (in a good way). Even as the film ventures into territory familiar to its genre, writer/director Ari Aster skillfully ratchets the tension into something that feels like a nightmare straight from hell. Hereditary conjures multiple indelibly brutal moments of pure horror - the likes of which made many in my audience giggle in anxiety. Aster truly seems to get as much tension as possible from each scene. The film's direction, writing, cinematography, production design, and score are all some of the best the horror genre has seen. It's a beautiful thing to see a film crafted so keenly.As for the cast, the highlights are an excellent performance by Toni Collette and a strong Alex Wolff. What begins as a drama about a family tearing apart with grief, descends into madness and the supernatural. Hereditary doesn't redefine horror. It puts a wicked stamp of its own on the tropes of the genre. The film is a tremendous success, and a truly impressive feature-debut from Ari Aster. Horror doesn't get any better than this.
'Hereditary' is sort of like two films in one. Half of the time it is being what I expected it to be, which is a horror movie. The other half though it plays out much like a drama. I would even suggest it's a better film when it's in drama mode than it is when it's in horror mode. The film is over 2 hours in length which is extremely long by modern horror movie standards. The reason I believe for this is that it's trying to fit so much in and achieve so much in such a little time. It's a very ambitious film it would have to be said.The entire cast were terrific, but Toni Collette absolutely blew me away. The emotional depth she is able to achieve never ceases to amaze me and she is captivating to watch in any scene she's in. I feel like she is one of the most under-appreciated actresses working today. As mentioned though, everyone is terrific and this is one of the best acted horror movies you are likely to find.I sat in the cinema for a couple of minutes are the credits rolled just trying to work out how I actually felt about the film. I know I liked it, but I also know I didn't love it as much as I had hoped to going in. It certainly surprised me that I was more invested in the real-life drama side of things, and that the horror was almost like an unwanted distraction at times. The horror is almost always about atmosphere and visuals rather than any kind of jump-scare which I always like. What I didn't like though was how casually it jumped from seeming normality to outright suspension of belief. I feel like this could have been bridged a little better. Early on there's a lot of subtlety, then in one scene all of that is thrown out the window at once. I suppose at least the audience knows where they stand from that point onwards. 'Hereditary' is a film made with impeccable quality, of that there is no questioning. In fact it's made so well that I would suggest what story you picked to tell almost wouldn't matter because writer/director Ari Aster clearly has the skills to make it work. I can see opinions being very divided on the film (I even had a couple walk out of the cinema at one point in my showing), but I think the majority will like it on some level and for that reason I would recommend giving it a look.