After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.
Eep. This movie is terrifying in a way that is hard to explain. It’s one of those rare horror movies that attaches itself to your back and follows you out of the cinema. I haven’t been able to shake it and that’s one of its main strengths.
Toni Collette completely nails the role of Annie, wife of Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and the mother of Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro). When her own mother dies after a drawn out illness, Annie mourns her naturally. Trying to come to terms with their difficult relationship is hard for her but she make the effort to open up to a bereavement group nonetheless.
As a relatively successful contemporary artist, Annie specialises in minature dioramas and after the death of her mother, she uses these to work through her pain. Creating scenes from her life starring her mother, its fascinating to see these reenactments rendered in such intricate detail.
Unfortunately, her healing is put on hold (forever) by an unexpected and devastating tragedy that will fracture the already injured family for good. And boy is it a demented ride.
It’s safe to say that Hereditary pulls no punches when it comes to the impact of its imagery. There are shots you want to turn away from yet can’t because they’re also perfect and beautiful. Definite horror influences can be detected throughout which has led to comparisons to films like The Exorcist, which I’m not sure is strictly accurate. All I know is that it’s one of the best modern horrors I’ve seen in the last few years and is exactly why I adore the genre so much.
I’m trying quite hard here not to give too much away since I went in with only one viewing of the trailer under my belt – and was pleasantly surprised. While the trailer is a good one it also doesn’t give anything away so when some of the reveals occur you’re left genuinely shell-shocked.
‘The’ scene (in my mind), in which Peter is involved in an unfortunate incident is pure perfection. As the realisation of what he’s done – of what he can never take back – plays across his face, you can’t help take on board the enormity of the situation. Wolff is incredibly soulful as haunted Peter, reduced by the weight of responsibility to a sniffling little boy. An actor to watch, I think.
Shapiro is also mesmerising as Charlie, the troubled daughter – her scenes are some of the best and I would like to see much more of her too. Hereditary examines themes of loss, guilt, accountability and pure horror and I’m already planning to catch it again so I can soak in the details and catch the nuances.
It’s a kind of scary that taps into your own personal experience and burrows under the skin, and is not reliant on cheap jump scares, which is so refreshing. I wholeheartedly recommend it to any horror fan or steely willed movie fan.
It is fantastic.
Ps. This film gave me genuine nightmares and on the same night my husband went sleepwalking. Make of that what you will!