Hereditary (2018)

Movie

I have now mentioned my growing love for the horror genre a few times here on my blog. Watching Hereditary has not stopped that love from blossoming, and it’s safe to say, that horror is on track of becoming a very dependable genre!

Hereditary is the directorial debut for Ari Aster, who also wrote the movie. And honestly, I’m not surprised by this fact what so ever. Because what do Get Out, A Quiet Place, and now Hereditary, all have in common? Those three are all very successful horror movies, which also stand in for being the directorial debuts for Jordan Peele, John Krasinski, and now, Ari Aster. All three have very different styles, all three deliver a type of horror that stands out, and all three movies are on top of my horror list!

Without making this post into a comparison between three movies that seem to have a lot in common, let’s dive into Hereditary. A movie that explores a very unique plot through a single family, coming in terms with a recent loss. We have Toni Collette as Annie, the mother, and Gabriel Bryne as Steve, the father. There are also two kids, Alex Wolff (not to be confused with his older brother Nat Wolff!) as Peter, and Milly Shapiro as Charlie.

When Annie’s mother dies, strange things start to happen. Suddenly another tragedy happens, and the family starts to crumble. First of all, Collette is brilliant in this! She is the kind of actress who blends into a role, and delivers on every turn. She has the biggest role in this film, and she carries Hereditary effortlessly. But, I thought Alex Wolff was just as good! There is a scene, where Wolff’s character Peter arrives home after an incident and goes to bed. An important discovery happens outside the frame, and we hear the reaction but we see only Wolff. That. Scene! Everything about it, I loved!

I was scared. I didn’t feel like a mother.
– Annie

That also leads me to the whole atmosphere and direction Hereditary displays. It’s different, it’s a little off centre almost, but it works so well. There is also an unique sound design to the movie that either annoys you (as it did for my flatmate), or it frustrates you on purpose! It is like a bass type sound that actually makes you physically uncomfortable. And it works here, because it is horror, and you’re supposed to be uncomfortable.

Another big part of the appeal Hereditary has, is its story as a whole. It’s hard to describe it without spoilers, but I’d say it’s a story that delivers a lot of common elements. Tropes such as grief, and afterlife. But it also explores mythology or folklore? Honestly, I’m not even sure what it was, but it was certainly disturbing. Especially the ending, which in itself is shocking and so strange, that even weeks later, I can’t shake the questionable feeling.

So yes, the strength of Hereditary does lie in all its aspects but it’s best triumph is not being a jump scare horror film. It has a few and it also has a very light touch of humour to it, but it’s simply just disturbing. Because it mostly focuses on strong imagery. And it’s the fact that it doesn’t aim to scare us, as much as it aims to make us uncomfortable, is why it’s so good. A jump scare is a quick way to engage with the audience. We react to a jump scare, and that reaction is brief. But discomfort, delivered through a well narrated story and disturbing imagery, lasts so much longer.

Hereditary’s plot will definitely last long, and its ending will probably trouble me for quite some time. If I did have a negative comment, it would be about the movie’s pacing, which was a tad bit slow for my taste. Other than that, it’s another win for the horror genre, and another reason to love its growth and imagination.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Allie
    August 6, 2018 at 5:20 PM

    Great review! Movies like this and A Quiet Place are turning me into a Horror fan and it’s a genre I’ve avoided for years. I wasn’t thrilled with the ending of Hereditary but there are so many scenes throughout the movie that are going to haunt me for ages!

    • Reply
      MettelRay
      August 10, 2018 at 5:15 PM

      I’m right there with you, I’m becoming a horror fan as well. And I’ve been avoiding it ever since I can remember. Still not sure I’ll watch the horror classics though. I think the genre has quietly evolved into so much more than it was, and I’m thrilled to be onboard with it now.

  • Reply
    sati
    August 8, 2018 at 7:11 PM

    That was such a freaky movie. I thought the ending could have been written better but the direction in the film was outstanding

    • Reply
      MettelRay
      August 10, 2018 at 5:16 PM

      The ending was so strange. I’m not sure if I liked it or not, but I’m pretty sure I have thought about it quite a few times since seeing the film.

  • Reply
    m.brown
    August 9, 2018 at 8:17 AM

    Excellent work.

    I left the theater gutted, as I really couldn’t believe what I had just seen. The ending didn’t work as much as the first half, but this is an exceptional debut regardless. My sister saw this on something like back-to-back nights and she explained much of what I couldn’t understand (namely the mythology or whatever). So…I might see it again…though I can’t honestly ever imagine actually watching it again. Does that make sense?

    • Reply
      MettelRay
      August 10, 2018 at 5:20 PM

      Thank you, sir!
      It’s so strange to think about the ending though. Like it is so weird and strange, and in a way it works. But I see how it’s not appealing to everyone.
      I think the second viewing after reading into this, would provide a lot more to see. And it totally makes sense that you wouldn’t want to see it again.. it’s disturbing in a very heavy way.

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