Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: Contains horror & content that may disturb
Toni Collette as Annie Graham
Alex Wolff as Peter Graham
Milly Shapiro as Charlie Graham
Gabriel Byrne as Steve Graham
Ann Dowd as Joan
Director: Ari Aster
When Ellen passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.
I had been hearing some buzz about Hereditary recently. All I knew going in was that it was a horror movie with Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne and that it is apparently a great horror movie, which always has me interested. Outside of that I didn’t know much about the movie, I didn’t even watch the trailers. Having seen this movie, I’m glad this was the case. Hereditary surprised me on such an incredible level. With its story, excellent direction and the fantastic performances, it is one of the best horror movies in recent years.
I haven’t seen any trailers but I do recommend going into Hereditary not knowing too much about the movie. You’ll be much more surprised that way. Also, something worth knowing is that it’s not a straight up horror movie, it’s a bit of a drama as well, it does take a while before the actual horror aspect becomes apparent. The plot is slow to unravel but it works well enough. I wouldn’t say that it is a very scary movie but it is very disturbing and gets under your skin. It does have its fair share of supernatural aspects but at the same time there are some aspects like the writing and dialogue which feel real enough. The intensity just builds and builds and really becomes more affecting. If there’s one criticism that could be had with the movie, it’s that there isn’t much in terms of character development. The characters were written pretty well and all get to do something however, and the cast played the roles incredibly well.
The acting by everyone is great. The family is played by Milly Shapiro, Toni Collette, Alex Wolff and Gabriel Byrne, and they were all fantastic in their roles and do their part to make themselves stand out. However, Toni Collette is the biggest stand out of all, she was phenomenal and just on a whole other level. She shows such a range of emotions and her character goes through so much. Let’s just say that she reaches her breaking point by the end of the first act, and she goes far beyond that point over the course of the rest of the movie. It was such a raw, intense and emotional performance, really one of the best performances of the year so far. She was well worth all the praise.
Hereditary was made by a first time director, Ari Aster, he has seriously proven his directorial talents here because this film is expertly directed. There actually aren’t too many jump scares, and those that are here aren’t necessarily done in the same way that typical horror movies do them, it didn’t feel cheap at all. This movie achieves sense of uneasiness over time using other methods, and its quite effective. For example, the clicking of a tongue becomes really unnerving. The movie itself isn’t particularly scary but it does have a lot of disturbing moments, in terms of plot and imagery. There is particularly one image in the movie that has now forever been burned into my brain. Fortunately, the disturbing/graphic moments feel earned, they aren’t just relying on shock value the whole time. The film uses a lot of miniature imagery often (with Toni Collette’s character making miniatures). While I’m not certain what the miniature imagery is meant to represent, I can say that at the very least it comes across as effective stylistic imagery.
Hereditary is really not a movie for everyone. It is not just a conventional horror movie with cheap jump scares and a basic plot. With Ari Aster’s excellent direction and the phenomonal performances (particularly Toni Collette’s), it’s one of the best films of 2018. Not since The Babadook has a horror movie been this fantastic and has affected me on such a level. As long as you have some idea of what this movie is and isn’t, I’d say that it’s worth checking out.