I haven’t been having nightmares from a movie in a long while, but Hereditary managed to sleep deprive me of about half of the night. I love Horror flicks, and I love the adrenaline involved and it only took a glimpse at Toni Collette’s face to convince me this film is IT for this Friday night.
Granny dies and the family moderate coping suggests that she was a bit of an odd character, keeping to herself and her daily rituals. Things begin to spiral when weird occurrences take place in the well-secluded Graham household only to produce a jaw-dropping and unexpected end.
Haunted houses are winners when it comes to a healthy Horror story, but with Hereditary, you’re getting so much more than the spine-tingling noises, attic creaks, moving shadows, and intensifying music. The house and family relationships are quite pale in emotions, apart from mother Annie’s bond with daughter Charlie, a reclusive young thing who hides severed animal heads in her jumper’s pocket and tongue-clucks on occasion. And the only family member who seems to give a shit about granny’s death.
As to add a little flavor to the story, Annie’s a creator of small objects and characters depicting past and present incidents in the family life. The house is decorated with tiny models creepy enough to add tension to what feels like an already somber home.
Directed by Ari Aster and co-produced by Collette and Byrne, the film is two hours long and sustains unsettling all throughout. Each character portrays dread and anxiety flawlessly and the plot brilliantly closes in on you up to the point where you’re dying to get the heck out that house. Toni Collette is fantastic and joins a long list of strong female protagonists in Horror films alongside Rosemary Woodhouse, Jane (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?), Ellen Ripley, Clarice Starling, Grace Stewart (The Others) and many others on which you can read here. Collette’s facial expressions say it all, crafting an exquisite haunting performance, one for the books. Gabriel Byrne is great as Collette’s cool and collected sidekick, Alex Wolff is extremely convincing as melancholy son Peter and newly introduced 15-year-old Milly Shapiro is the driving force of the film, Charlie.
“Hereditary is insanely scary”, so says Sundance Film Festival. It’s even better if you go in blind and not succumb to any spoilers along the way which I hope I did well in not rendering. I recommended it to my Horror loving sister today and explained the nocturnal impact it had on me. She refused to watch it alone, let alone at night. Some people just lack the courage…